January 23, 2020 / 1:16 PM / a month ago

SOFTS-White sugar climbs to 2-1/2 year high on tight supply

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - White sugar futures on ICE rose to a 2-1/2 year high on Thursday supported by tight supplies, while arabica coffee rebounded from a two-month low.

SUGAR

* March white sugar rose $2, or 0.5%, to $409 a tonne at 1235 GMT, after scaling a peak of $411.50, the highest for the front month since June 2017.

* Dealers said the market was boosted by nearby supply tightness, driven partly by the current slow pace of Indian exports, with March trading at a premium of about $5.50 to May LSU-1=R.

* Malaysia’s top sugar refiner said it would increase purchases of the commodity from India, which according to two sources is part of efforts to placate New Delhi amid an ongoing spat over palm oil imports.

* March raw sugar was up 0.05 cent, or 0.3%, at 14.71 cents per lb, climbing towards a two-year high of 14.79 cents set on Wednesday.

* “Prices now, and higher still, will start to look ‘too high’ on some metrics, likely calling forth some extra sugar production. That extra sugar though is likely to be mostly notional until later in 2020, and thus is not an immediate handbrake on further price gains,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said in a market note.

* Rising sugar prices can encourage mills to use more cane to make the sweetener rather than ethanol.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee was up 2.40 cents, or 2.2%, at $1.1340 per lb, rebounding from a two-month low for the front month of $1.0975 set on Tuesday.

* Dealers said there was scope for the market to extend its rebound in the short-term after a prolonged slide since late last year that has seen the March contract fall by more than 30 cents from its Dec. 17, 2019 peak.

* March robusta rose $17, or 1.3%, to $1,354 a tonne.

COCOA

* March New York cocoa was down $36, or 1.3%, at $2,767 a tonne, retreating from a 20-month high of $2,859 set on Wednesday.

* Dealers said the market remained underpinned by concerns about dry weather in top grower Ivory Coast.

* March London cocoa was down 30 pounds, or 1.5%, at 1,968 pounds a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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