March 17, 2020 / 1:04 PM / 19 days ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar, cocoa hit fresh 6-month lows

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Raw sugar and cocoa futures on ICE hit fresh six-month lows on Monday as equities and oil struggled to stabilise after the coronavirus panic caused Wall Street’s worst one-day rout since 1987 on Monday.

Arabica coffee also fell.


* May raw sugar was down 0.04 cents, or 0.4%, at 11.05 cents per lb by 1227 GMT after setting a six-month low of 10.98 cents.

* Oil gave up earlier gains as fears returned that the global coronavirus pandemic will hit demand and as Saudi Arabia pumped more crude in its battle with Russia for market share.

* Weaker energy prices have prompted expectations mills in Brazil will switch to using more cane to make sugar rather than biofuel ethanol.

* “The market is grossly oversold, but it is very unlikely buyers will return in the short term,” said a dealer.

* French sugar group Cristal Union will stop producing ethanol at one of its plants to switch to alcohol as demand for disinfectants surges across the globe to counter the coronavirus.

* May white sugar fell $2.80, or 0.8%, to $339.70 a tonne, having hit its lowest since late November at $339.50.


* May New York cocoa fell $51, or 2.2%, to $2,278 a tonne, a six-month low.

* Funds are continuing to liquidate long positions in cocoa as the coronavirus crisis dampens risk appetite and sparks fears over cocoa demand.

* May London cocoa was down 20 pounds, or 1.1%, at 1,788 pounds a tonne, having hit its lowest since early January at 1,787.


* May arabica coffee fell 2 cents, or 2.2%, to $1.0170 per lb, having hit its lowest since mid-February at $1,0160.

* New York May arabica may test support at $1.0215 per lb, a break below which could cause a fall to $0.9955, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

* Coffee is being dragged down by broad-based weakness in commodities, although its losses are limited by tight supplies, as evidenced by the decline in stocks, both on exchange KC-TOT-TOT and off.

* U.S. green coffee stocks fell by 150,126 bags to 6.5 million 60-kg bags by the end of February, according to the Green Coffee Association.

* “The (physical) market for washed arabica is now tighter than at any time in the crop year. Colombia and Guatemala (premiums) are reported in the upper 40 (cents per lb) over (the futures price). Honduras is reported in the upper 20 (cents per lb),” said Marex Spectron in a note.

* May robusta coffee was down $10, or 0.8%, at $1,211 a tonne (Editing by Jan Harvey)

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