January 16, 2017 / 1:02 PM / 3 years ago

SOFTS- London cocoa prices dip on weak European grind data

* Europe Q4 cocoa grind falls by 0.9 percent

* New York-based markets closed

By Nigel Hunt

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - London cocoa futures fell on Monday following a lower than expected fourth quarter European grind, while white sugar and robusta coffee edged up in thin volume with U.S. markets shut.

March London cocoa was down 10 pounds, or 0.6 percent, at 1,787 pounds a tonne at 1243 GMT.

Europe’s fourth quarter cocoa grind fell 0.9 percent from the same period last year to 339,379 tonnes, the Brussels-based European Cocoa Association said on Monday.

The decline was driven by a sharper 10.1 percent fall in the German grind, linked to financial problems at Euromar Commodities which declared insolvency and stopped production in early December.

“I think what is disappointing is that the other factories didn’t pick up the slack in that period,” said Jonathan Parkman, Head of Agriculture at Marex Spectron, noting the market consensus had been for a rise of about 2.5 percent.

“You should never get too obsessed by one grind figure,” he added, however, noting the market was now awaiting North American fourth quarter grind data to be issued on Thursday.

That is also expected to be around 2.5 percent higher.

“If the North American grind was weak that would be very disappointing,” Parkman said.

Cocoa prices fell in 2016, weighed by the prospect of a global surplus in the current 2016/17 season, with forecasts ranging from about 150,000 to 225,000 tonnes.

“We’re transitioning from a period of structural deficit to what looks like a surplus for this season,” Parkman said.

Dealers were also monitoring unrest in top grower Ivory Coast, although the situation appeared calm on Monday.

Disgruntled soldiers in Ivory Coast reached an agreement with the government late on Friday, resolving a dispute over bonus payments that had threatened to reignite a nationwide army mutiny, negotiators for the mutineers said.

New York cocoa, raw sugar and arabica coffee markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Robusta coffee futures were slightly higher, with March up $7, or 0.3 percent, at $2,209 a tonne.

The market has been consolidating during the last few days after rising to a 4-1/2 year peak of $2,229 on Wednesday.

Dealers said poor robusta crops in Brazil and Indonesia and a decline in production in Vietnam, where the harvest is winding down, had helped to fuel a run-up in prices.

Speculators raised a net long in robusta coffee by 4,799 lots to 39,171 lots, as of Jan. 10, exchange data showed on Monday.

March white sugar was up $1.60, or 0.3 percent, at $536.20 per tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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