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White sugar ends higher, U.S. holiday slows trade

White sugar and robusta coffee futures edged higher on Monday while London cocoa eased in thin conditions due to the closure of New York-based contracts for Presidents Day.

Raw sugar, arabica coffee and New York cocoa markets will reopen on Tuesday.

SUGAR

* White sugar futures crept up with May closing $4.20, or 0.8 percent, higher at $554.30 a tonne.

* Traders said the market lacked a clear overall trend with the focus partly on the expiry of the March raws contract on Feb. 28.

* “The New York March contract expiry looms as an event that might stir the market. Otherwise, the focus is on the second quarter when tight supply might manifest itself,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said.

COCOA

* London cocoa futures were lower with May down 15 pounds, or 0.9 percent, at 1,612 pounds a tonne.

* Dealers said the market was back on the defensive after a short-lived rally from a more than eight-year low of 1,541 pounds early last week to a peak of 1,674 pounds

* A favourable outlook for crops in West Africa and the prospect for a large global surplus in the current 2016-17 season remained the main bearish factors.

* Rain last week in most of Ivory Coast‘s main cocoa growing regions will help produce an abundant April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday, though dry, hot weather was damaging flowers in the east.

* Cocoa arrivals at ports in Ivory Coast reached around 1,227,000 tonnes by Feb. 19 since the start of the season on Oct. 1, exporters estimated on Monday, up from 1,195,000 tonnes during the same period in the previous season.

COFFEE

* Robusta coffee was higher with May up $12, or 0.6 percent, at $2,186 a tonne.

* Dealers said the market was underpinned by the prospect that Brazil may import following a poor domestic crop.

* Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry published rules companies should follow to bring robusta coffee into the country from Vietnam in its official gazette on Monday, marking the first time the world’s largest producer will buy coffee abroad.

* Prices remain, however, well below a more than five-year high of $2,279 for the second position hit on Feb. 1 with funds scaling back long positions during the last couple of weeks.

* Robusta coffee speculators cut a net long position by 3,819 lots to 39,682 lots, as of Feb. 14, exchange data showed on Monday.

Reuters

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