December 7, 2017 / 11:27 AM / in 4 days

SOFTS-Raw sugar climbs off lows as selling wanes, cocoa steadies

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE rose on Thursday, bouncing back from a one-month low as speculators took a breather from selling and energy prices turned higher, while London cocoa steadied above seven-month lows.

SUGAR

* March raw sugar rose 0.12 cent or 0.8 percent to 14.57 cents per lb by 1100 GMT, supported by lower speculative selling and more upbeat energy markets.

* Sugar prices plunged to their weakest in a month a day earlier, as a tumble in broader commodity markets and a stronger US dollar triggered a wave of long-liquidation by speculators and additional selling by producers, dealers said.

* “The liquidation shows that despite the ‘ethanol story’ in Brazil, traders have been reacting to the continuing estimates of large sugar surpluses,” Nick Penney, senior trader at Sucden Financial said in a note.

* The market rallied to 15.49 cents last month as investors covered short positions amid signs supportive biofuel policies in Brazil were inspiring mills to divert more cane to ethanol rather than sugar.

* “The buying generated now seems to have come to a halt,” said Tobin Gorey of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The market is still juggling a hefty surplus but now lacks a buyer that needs to buy at these levels.”

* Dealers said the market remained vulnerable to further selling by Brazilian producers looking to hedge their output.

* March white sugar was up $1.10, or 0.3 percent, at $376.40 a tonne.

COCOA

* March London cocoa was up 4 pounds or 0.3 percent at 1,412 pounds a tonne.

* Prices sank to a seven-month low a day earlier as concerns that exporters in Ivory Coast could again be vulnerable to defaults attracted speculative selling, dealers said.

* However, the country’s Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) later dismissed the concerns as “unfounded rumours”.

* The market was hovering in oversold territory, dealers said, although it remained vulnerable to further tests of the recent lows.

* March New York cocoa was up $11, or 0.6 percent, at $1,917 a tonne, after hitting a three-month low on Wednesday.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee slipped 0.40 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $1.2570 per lb.

* January robusta coffee was unchanged at $1,758 a tonne.

* Demand for robusta coffee beans was slow this week in major producer Vietnam at a time when erratic weather slowed down bean processing in the country’s Central Highlands, traders said on Thursday. (Reporting by Ana Ionova;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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