March 28, 2019 / 6:33 PM / 25 days ago

SOFTS-Arabica coffee inches up, sugar slips

(Recasts throughout, updates prices; adds market activity, comments, ICE data, NEW YORK dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE inched up on Thursday, boosted by a rebound in the currency of top producer Brazil, while sugar prices slipped.

COFFEE

* May arabica coffee settled up 0.15 cent, or 0.2 percent, at 94 cents per lb., after trading as low as 92.70.

* Prices got some support from a stronger Brazilian currency, dealers said. The currency had dropped in the previous session to 2019 lows versus the dollar.

* A firmer Brazilian currency can discourage producer selling.

* Total open interest rose for the 13th straight day on Wednesday to reach a fresh record-high of 347,560 lots, ICE data show.

* Prices are on track to drop 4.6 percent in March, after falling 9.7 percent in February.

* Global coffee growers have warned that the current price environment is threatening the future of the industry.

* May robusta coffee settled down $12, or 0.8 percent, at $1,492 per tonne.

* Vietnam’s March coffee exports are estimated to fall 28.8-33.5 percent from a year earlier, traders said.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar settled down 0.05 cent, or 0.40 percent, at 12.53 cents per lb.

* The market was weighed down by lower oil prices, dealers said, which slipped after U.S. President Donald Trump called on OPEC to boost production. * Lower energy prices can encourage cane mills in Brazil, a top grower, to produce more sugar rather than ethanol.

* Prices were underpinned, however, by potential delays to the start of Brazil’s harvest, dealers said.

* “We expect short-term movement to be limited to the current 12 to 13 (cent per lb) range,” said Sucden Financial senior trader Nick Penney.

* Brazil’s center-south region will produce 29.5 million tonnes of sugar in the 2019-20 season, up 11 percent over the previous crop but less than projected previously, broker and analyst INTL FCStone said.

* May white sugar settled down $3.50, or 1.1 percent, at $326.60 per tonne.

* The contract has closed lower in seven of the past eight sessions.

COCOA

* May New York cocoa settled up $9, or 0.4 percent, at $2,257 per tonne.

* The May contract continued to traded at a premium over July CCK9-N9 for the third straight day as some market participants rolled their positions forward.

* May London cocoa settled up 19 pounds, or 1.1 percent, at 1,710 pounds per tonne.

* The farmgate price for Ivory Coast’s cocoa mid crop will remain at 750 CFA francs ($1.29) per kilo, the same price as the main crop which ends on March 30, said two sources at the marketing board. (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in London; editing by Jane Merriman and Tom Brown)

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