October 5, 2017 / 11:29 AM / 14 days ago

SOFTS-White sugar climbs on short-covering, London cocoa at highs

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - White sugar futures rose further on Thursday as speculators sought to cover shorts amid worries about a nearby supply crunch, while a weaker pound lifted London cocoa to its highest in nearly two months.

SUGAR

* December white sugar was up $1.40 or 0.4 percent at $377.10 a tonne by 1107 GMT, after rising to $379.70, the highest for the front month since Sept. 18.

* This extended gains from the previous day, when short-covering triggered a 2.8 percent jump and lifted the spot contract to a premium over the March position for the first time in six months. LSUZ7-H8

* The premium for the spot contract widened on Thursday, peaking at $2.30, the highest since early March.

* Dealers pointed to enduring worries about nearby supplies, as European Union sugar is not expected to hit the market in time for December delivery.

* White sugar from Thailand and Central America is also not yet available, while Brazil is refining less sugar amid low margins, dealers said.

* “The EU hasn’t really fully come on stream - it will do but it’s too early,” said one dealer. “And the low global prices have encouraged offtake. More demand is chasing less supply.”

* Speculators kept seeking to cover shorts on Thursday, although dealers said willing sellers were scarce.

* “They’re covering into a sort of a vacuum, because the producers aren’t there to provide the liquidity,” the dealer said.

* March raw sugar was up 0.02 cent, or 0.1 percent, at 14.27 cents per lb.

* The market was capped, however, by crop-friendly rains in top grower Brazil and producer hedging.

COCOA

* December London cocoa was up 9 pounds, or 0.6 percent, at 1,567 pounds a tonne, after hitting 1,575 pounds, the highest since Aug. 8.

* Prices were boosted by a weaker British pound, which hit a three-week low on Thursday amid fresh political uncertainty.

* December New York cocoa fell $1 or 0.05 percent to $2,077 a tonne.

* Ivory Coast had exported 1,329,694 tonnes of raw cocoa beans by the end of August, up more than 19 percent from a year earlier, provisional port data showed on Wednesday.

COFFEE

* December arabica coffee was up 0.05 cent, or 0.04 percent, at $1.2520 per lb.

* November robusta coffee was down $6 or 0.3 percent at $2,009 a tonne. (Reporting by Ana Ionova; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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