January 14, 2019 / 12:29 PM / 2 months ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar slips as funds step back; arabica coffee also falls

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE fell on Monday as speculators took a breather from buying back short positions, while arabica coffee also slipped as the Brazilian real weakened.

SUGAR

* March raw sugar was down 0.11 cents, or 0.9 percent, at 12.67 cents per lb by 1215 GMT.

* Last week, prices posted their best weekly performance since October. However, dealers said the technical picture was weakened when the market failed to break above 13 cents.

* Speculative activity also remained in focus, with participants trying to gauge fund positioning in the absence of Commitment of Trader reports due to the U.S. government shutdown.

* “The market consensus is that the system funds have been buying back shorts but are still net short,” Marex Spectron said in a report.

* Dealers said the market also continued to track energy prices as crude oil fell back again on Monday.

* March white sugar fell $2.50, or 0.7 percent, to $342.40 a tonne.

* Dealers said sentiment was somewhat dampened by signs of weak demand for spot supplies and lacklustre interest in taking delivery of the March contract.

* Indonesia also said it may not import white sugar for household use in 2019 due to sufficient stocks and higher production, as three new sugar mills start operation this year.

* Ukraine had produced 1.69 million tonnes of white sugar by Jan. 11 from 12.46 million tonnes of sugar beet, the Ukrtsukor sugar union said.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee fell 0.75 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $1.0310 per lb, weighed by a weaker Brazilian real.

* A weaker currency in the top grower improves local returns on dollar-traded commodities like coffee, encouraging producers to hedge their supplies.

* March robusta coffee was down $11, or 0.7 percent, at $1,532 a tonne.

* Coffee is a booming business for Western retailers but the farmers who grow the crop are facing a crisis, with arabica prices at their lowest for nearly 13 years.

COCOA

* May London cocoa rose 4 pounds, or 0.2 percent, to 1,732 pounds a tonne.

* March New York cocoa rose $3, or 0.1 percent, to $2,359 a tonne.

* Market participants were awaiting European cocoa grind data for the fourth quarter of 2018, due out on Wednesday, for fresh indications of demand. (Reporting by Ana Ionova; Editing by Mark Potter)

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