May 24, 2018 / 5:56 PM / 3 months ago

SOFTS-Sugar at eight-week highs as truckers strike in Brazil

 (Rewrites throughout, updates prices; adds comment, NEW YORK
dateline)
    NEW YORK/LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - Sugar futures on ICE
extended gains to eight-week highs on Thursday, while coffee
prices rose modestly, buoyed in part by a truck drivers' strike
in top grower Brazil that could reduce the flow of exports. 
    The New York and London softs markets will shut for public
holidays on Monday and reopen on Tuesday.             
                
    SUGAR
    * July raw sugar        settled up 0.03 cent, or 0.2
percent, at 12.38 cents per lb after touching 12.62 cents, its
highest since March 26. 
    * Short-covering by speculators pushed prices higher,
traders said, after exchange data showed total open interest
fell for the second straight day on Tuesday. This came after it
reached an eight-year high at nearly 1.04 million contracts on
Monday.
    * August white sugar         settled up $2, or 0.6 percent,
at $351.40 per tonne, after touching $356.30, the highest for
the front month since March 27.
    * Brazilian truckers protesting high diesel prices for a
fourth day said they would maintain road blockades until
measures to reduce fuel taxes are enshrined in the official
gazette.             
    * "Part of the concern is the impact it is having on getting
goods, including sugar, into (and out of) the port by road,
which is likely to result in shipping delays," said Agrilion
Commodity Advisers in a note.
    * "However, arguably the more significant impact (from a
sugar perspective) is being felt at the mill level where a lack
of diesel fuel means farmers are unable to fuel the cane
harvesting machines or the trucks to then get the cane from the
fields to the mills for processing," Agrilion said.
    * The market shrugged off data from cane industry group
Unica that showed Brazilian mills crushed more than expected in
the first half of May.             
            
    COFFEE
    * July arabica coffee        settled up 1.2 cents, or 1
percent, at $1.2055 per lb. 
    * Brazil's top coffee exporter Cooxupé warned foreign
clients on Thursday about possible shipping delays due to the
truckers nationwide protests, according to a company executive.
            
    * July robusta coffee         settled up $4, or 0.2 percent,
at $1,755 per tonne, after falling 2.2 percent in the previous
session. 
    
    COCOA
     * July London cocoa         settled down 17 pounds, or 0.9
percent, at 1,865 pounds per tonne.
    * ICE said it will withdraw the stock figure reports from
the past five days that "materially understated" London cocoa
stocks.             
    * July New York cocoa        settled down $15, or 0.6
percent, at $2,603 per tonne.

 (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Ana Ionova in
London; Editing by David Goodman, Mark Potter and Diane Craft)
  
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