May 23, 2019 / 6:16 PM / 4 months ago

SOFTS-Weather worries send arabica coffee to six-week high

 (Recasts; updates prices and market activity; adds comments,
NEW YORK to dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures
on ICE rose to a six-week high on Thursday, underpinned by
concerns over the potential for cold crop-damaging weather in
parts of top-grower Brazil, while sugar prices slipped. 
    
    COFFEE
    * July arabica coffee        settled up 1.75 cent, or 1.9%
percent, at 93.50 cents per lb. The contract peaked at 94 cents,
the highest since April 11.
    * The contract, which hit 13-1/2-year lows of 86.35 in
April, has closed in positive territory in six of the past ten
sessions.
    * Prices have been buoyed in the past two sessions by
forecasts by Somar Meteorologia that cold weather in southern
Brazil this weekend could result in a frost. 
    * Market participants were eager to cover shorts ahead of a
long weekend in which cold, crop-damaging weather could occur,
dealers said. 
    * Brazil's coffee harvest accelerated in the week to May 21
and has now reached 16% of the expected total for the season,
according to a survey by consultancy Safras & Mercado on
Thursday.             
    * July robusta coffee         settled up $8, or 0.6%, at
$1,369 per tonne.
    * Persistently low domestic coffee prices in Vietnam have
prompted some local growers to switch to other crops, including
avocado and durian, traders said on Thursday.             

    SUGAR
    * July raw sugar        settled down 0.05 cent, or 0.4%, at
11.57 cents per lb.
    * Prices were pressured by lower oil prices, dealers said.
Oil prices plunged about 5% on Thursday as trade tensions
dampened the demand outlook.       
    * Lower oil prices can discourage cane mills in top-grower
Brazil from producing ethanol, prompting them to instead produce
more sugar.  
    * Cane mills in Brazil's main producing region produced 1.59
million tonnes of sugar in the first half of May, cane industry
group Unica said in a report on Thursday.             
    * This was more sugar than the market was anticipating and
was also a bearish influence on the market, dealers said.
    * Compared to the same period last year, however, regional
sugar production is down 16%.   
    * August white sugar         settled down 70 cents, or 0.2%,
at $322.10 per tonne.
    
    COCOA
    * July New York cocoa        settled up $13, or 0.5%, at
$2,426 per tonne.
    * July London cocoa         settled up 12 pounds, or 0.7%,
at 1,773 pounds per tonne, buoyed partly by a weaker pound.
    * The possibility of reduced output from second-largest
cocoa producer Ghana due to crop disease was underpinning
prices, dealers said. 

 (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in
London; Editing by Jon Boyle and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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