March 7, 2018 / 12:15 PM / 7 months ago

SOFTS-Raw sugar prices weaken as Indian crop outlook improves

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures were lower on Wednesday, with the outlook for increased production in India adding to concerns about excess supplies, while London cocoa touched a one-year high before falling back to little-changed levels.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar was down 0.15 cents, or 1.1 percent, at 13.30 cents per lb by 1201 GMT.

* India’s sugar production is expected to rise to a record 29.5 million tonnes in the 2017/18 season, up nearly 13 percent from a previous estimate, lifted by a possible doubling of Maharashtra state’s output, a trade body said on Wednesday.

* “Domestic demand is supposed to be around 25 million tonnes, meaning that a lot of sugar will be left over to top up stocks or export,” Commerzbank said in a market note.

* “How much sugar India ultimately exports will depend partly on whether it abolishes its 20 percent export duty,” the bank added.

* May white sugar fell $3.10, or 0.85 percent, to $363.20 a tonne.

COCOA

* May London cocoa was unchanged at 1,727 pounds a tonne after rising to a peak of 1,734 pounds, the highest for the second position since March 2017.

* Dealers said the market’s run-up had been fuelled largely by technically-driven fund buying, though fundamentals were also becoming supportive, with demand rising while the Ivory Coast crop could be smaller than previously forecast.

* They noted the latest market consensus was for a global surplus in 2017/18 of about 50,000 tonnes. A Reuters poll last month had a median forecast of a 100,000 tonne surplus. .

* May New York cocoa was up $12, or 0.5 percent, at $2,453 a tonne, edging towards Tuesday’s 16-month high of $2,471.

* ICE Futures U.S. has raised the initial cocoa margins for specs by 30.4 percent to $1,500 per contract from $1,150, effective from the opening of business on Wednesday.

COFFEE

* May arabica coffee was down 0.45 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $1.2080 per lb.

* May robusta coffee rose $4, or 0.2 percent, to $1,781 a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt Editing by David Goodman)

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