March 25, 2020 / 12:46 PM / 8 days ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar rises as traders price in stockpiling

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, buoyed by a rebound in global equities and as traders started to price in stockpiling linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arabica coffee fell after hitting its highest since early January, while cocoa prices edged up.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar was up 0.19 cents, or 1.7%, at 11.47 cents per lb by 1216 GMT. The front month fell to a 1-1/2 year low of 10.44 cents last week.

* Equities rebounded across the globe, leaping on news of a $2 trillion U.S. fiscal stimulus package, though oil prices floundered as faltering fuel demand because of the virus outweighed the U.S. stimulus.

* Weaker energy prices tend to prompt cane mills in top producer Brazil to produce more sugar at the expense of biofuel ethanol, though analysts say this bearish factor has been priced in for now.

* “The dominant factor over last couple of weeks was the collapse in energy prices, but I don’t think sugar has fully priced in stockpiling. Its priced it in to some extent, but I think there’s more to come,” said Carlos Mera, analyst at Rabobank.

* May white sugar rose $0.30, or 0.1%, to $339.20 a tonne.

COFFEE

* May arabica coffee fell 1.60 cents, or 1.2%, to $1.2405 per lb, having earlier hit its highest since early January at $1.2650.

* Arabica has found support from potential disruptions to shipments out of Brazil linked to the coronavirus pandemic and from stockpiling by roasters and end-consumers.

* Dealers noted ICE certified stocks were continuing to decline sharply.

* May robusta coffee rose $1, or 0.1%, to $1,258 a tonne.

COCOA

* May New York cocoa was up $2, or 0.1%, at $2,269 a tonne, boosted by the broad-based gains in equities and commodities.

* An improving outlook for the mid-crop in Ivory Coast, however, remains a bearish influence, while there are some worries demand for a luxury good like chocolate will be hit by the pandemic.

* May London cocoa was flat at 1,826 pounds a tonne. (Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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