January 24, 2019 / 8:50 PM / 22 days ago

SOFTS-Arabica coffee prices firm on Brazil weather concerns

 (Recasts throughout; adds comment, details)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures
rose on Thursday, lifted by light fund buying against a backdrop
of scarce producer selling in Central America.
    
    COFFEE
    * ICE March arabica coffee        settled up 1.9 cents, or
1.84 percent, at $1.053 per lb. 
    * "There's some nervousness that you don't have a lot of
surplus if there is a short-fall to provide the basis for
concerted price pressure from these levels," Steven Platt,
futures strategist at Archer Financial, said. 
    * Dealers said the market was supported by light speculative
buying after prices held up well in the face of recent attempts
to break through key technical support levels.
    * Volumes were light, though, with producers reluctant to
sell beans at current levels, dealers said.  
    * March robusta coffee         rose $25, or 1.6 percent, to
$1,548 a tonne. 
    * Prices slipped to a three-week low of $1,507 a tonne on
Wednesday, pressured by a pick-up in selling in top grower
Vietnam ahead of the Tet holiday, dealers said.
    * Coffee shipments from Vietnam are expected to jump in
January as traders rush to fulfil orders before next month's
week-long Lunar New Year holiday.             

    SUGAR
    * ICE March raw sugar        settled up 0.01 cent, or 0.08
percent, at 12.98 cents per lb.
    * Sales of hydrous ethanol in Brazil's center-south cane
region for the first two weeks of the year jumped 32 percent
from the same period last year, signaling that a recent price
decline in gasoline - its main competitor at the pump - may not
have curbed the biofuel's appeal.             
    * Market focus also remained on weather in Brazil after a
recent bout of dryness in key cane areas. 
    * ICE March white sugar         settled up $0.5, or 0.14
percent, at $351.2 per tonne.

    
    COCOA
    * ICE May London cocoa          settled up 10 pounds, or 0.6
percent, at 1,647 pounds per tonne.
    * "It's been hammered for the last few days - the fund
selling has faded a bit here, and that's allowed the market to
do a short-term recovery, but there's still potential for a
little bit of a downside," said one dealer. 
    * May New York cocoa        climbed $16, or 0.7 percent,
to$2,289 a tonne.

 (Reporting by Ana Ionova in London and Jessica Resnick-Ault in
New York; editing by David Goodmanand Leslie Adler)
  
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