Sugar jumps to 2-month high on supply outlook

Raw sugar on ICE jumped 3.5 percent to the highest level in more than two months on Friday, buoyed by expectations for tight supplies and on chart-based buying, while short covering helped lift arabica coffee futures to a five-week peak.

Cocoa turned quietly lower after rising to the highest prices in more than two months, with the London market closing higher for the fifth straight week.

May raw sugar settled up 0.31 cent, or 2.1 percent, at 15.13 cents per lb. Heavy technical buying entered after prices broke above strong resistance at 15 cents, helping them jump 3.5 percent to the highest level for the spot contract since Dec. 31 at 15.34 cents a lb.

The March raw contract faced technical resistance at the session high, just one tick below a double top reached in late 2015.

“Part of the reason is that with the stronger Brazilian real, Brazilian producers may not be rushing to hedge and so there may have been less overhead commercial selling than would otherwise have been expected,” said consultancy Agrilion in a note.

Bulls may also be encouraged by news that the Thai crop is wrapping up faster than expected while analysts lower production expectations, Agrilion added.

“Funds are starting to buy now,” said Nick Gentile, managing partner of commodity trading adviser NickJen Capital.

More than 12,000 lots of May 15.50-cent calls traded, an unusually heavy amount that traders said likely helped buoy futures prices.

Sugar and coffee prices followed the general move higher in commodities with the 19-market Thomson Reuters CoreCommodity Index rallying more than 1 percent to the highest level in more than two months.

May white sugar settled up $6.60, or 1.6 percent, at $433.40 per tonne, having risen to $435, a 16-month high for the spot contract.

Arabica coffee futures also rallied, after a wave of Brazilian 2016/17 crop forecasts released this week ranged widely from 49.7 million bags to 56.5 million bags.

May arabica coffee settled up 3.65 cents, or 3 percent, at $1.258 per lb, after rising to $1.2625, the highest price since Jan. 5.

May robusta coffee settled up $25, or 1.8 percent, at $1,427 per tonne.

May London cocoa ended down 13 pounds, or 0.6 percent, at 2,225 pounds a tonne, after touching 2,252, the highest price since Dec. 31.

New York May cocoa closed flat at $3,062 per tonne, after rising to $3,077, the highest level since Jan. 5.


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