February 6, 2018 / 7:01 PM / 18 days ago

SOFTS-Arabica coffee makes biggest jump in five weeks

 (Recasts; updates prices; adds comment, NEW YORK dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on
ICE rose on Tuesday, marking their biggest one-day rally in five
weeks as market participants holding short positions took cover
in risk-averse dealings after U.S. stock indexes slumped,
traders said.            
    London cocoa futures tapped a two-month high, buoyed by the
weak British pound, while sugar turned lower.
           
    COFFEE
    * March arabica coffee        settled up 3.05 cents, or 2.6
percent, at $1.2285 per lb, the biggest one-day rally since Jan.
2.
    * "There was a bit of a risk-off trade this morning with the
stock market being down," one U.S. trader said, adding that
risk-averse dealings were causing speculators to cover their
short positions.
    * "The underlying fundamentals in soft commodities are
negative. The only thing positive about sugar and coffee right
now is that the funds have big short (positions)," the trader
said.
    * "The specs are short so I'm sure they're pulling out,"
said Jack Scoville, a vice president with Price Futures Group in
Chicago, pointing to strong technical support around
$1.18-$1.19.
    * Total open interest rose by 4,947 contracts to a record
251,296 contracts on Monday, ICE data showed.
    * A Reuters poll on Monday forecast slightly higher coffee
prices by the end of the year as countries restock inventories.
            
    * March robusta coffee         settled up $24, or 1.4
percent, at $1,804 per tonne.
    * Coffee stocks held in European ports fell 5.3 percent in
December, figures from the European Coffee Federation showed.
            
    
    COCOA
    * March London cocoa         settled up 5 pounds, or 0.3
percent, at 1,462 pounds per tonne after peaking at a two-month
high of 1,481 pounds.
    * May New York cocoa        settled down $9, or 0.4 percent,
at $2,065 per tonne.
    * Cocoa prices should rise by the end of the year,
recovering some ground after two consecutive annual declines, a
Reuters survey showed.           

    SUGAR
    * March raw sugar        settled down 0.06 cent, or 0.4
percent, at 13.84 cents per lb, after rising to 14.04 cents, the
highest since Jan. 16. 
    * Total open interest fell sharply on Monday to 939,360
contracts, down from the prior session's 10-year high at 952,483
contracts, ICE data showed.
    * Dealers said the run-up had been largely fueled by short
covering but a major industry conference in Dubai this week had
reinforced concerns about excess supplies.
    * India is likely to continue exporting sugar in the
2018-2019 season, said Abinash Verma, director general of the
Indian Sugar Mills Association.             
    * May white sugar         settled down $2.40, or 0.7
percent, at $361.90 per tonne.

 (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Nigel Hunt in
London; Editing by David Evans and James Dalgleish)
  
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