February 28, 2018 / 7:40 PM / in 6 months

SOFTS-Raw sugar rebounds sharply from 8-month low as March expires

(Recasts, updates prices; adds comment, NEW YORK dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures surged 4 percent on Wednesday, rebounding from an eight-month low on heavy short-covering ahead of the March contract’s expiry at the end of the session, while New York cocoa retreated from the prior session’s 13-month high.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar settled up 0.51 cent, or 4 percent, at 13.38 cents per lb after earlier dipping to an eight-month low of 12.82 cents.

* Prices rallied on short-covering, though the overall trend remained bearish due to more than ample supplies, dealers said.

* “The fundamentals have been weak for so long now and getting more bearish at each upward estimate of India, Thailand and EU output,” said Sucden Financial senior trader Nick Penney in a market note.

* Dealers said the prospect of producer selling would make it difficult for the market to sustain a recovery in prices.

* The March contract settled up 3.6 percent at 13.48 cents, a 0.1-cent premium over May SBH8-K8.

* Trade houses Alvean and Wilmar International Ltd have scooped up about 742,500 tonnes of raw sugar against March, traders said.

* May white sugar settled up $10.80, or 3.1 percent, at $361.30 per tonne. The front month had slid to a low of $349.50 on Tuesday, its weakest since September 2015.

COCOA

* May New York cocoa settled down $9, or 0.4 percent, at $2,218 per tonne, off Tuesday’s 13-month peak of $2,234.

* The dollar-denominated commodity was pressured by weakness in the British pound, traders said.

* May London cocoa settled up 6 pounds, or 0.4 percent, at 1,582 pounds per tonne, after reaching a three-month high at 1,586 pounds.

* The International Cocoa Organization forecast a global cocoa surplus of 105,000 tonnes in the 2017/18 season (October/September), compared with a downwardly revised estimate for a surplus of 300,000 tonnes in 2016/17.

COFFEE

* May robusta coffee settled down $11, or 0.6 percent, at $1,724 per tonne, with the strong pace of exports from top robusta producer Vietnam keeping the market on the defensive.

* Global coffee exports rose 20.7 percent in January from a year earlier, with robusta jumping 48.2 percent, data from the International Coffee Organization showed.

* May arabica coffee settled up 0.9 cent, or 0.7 percent, at $1.22 per lb. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Nigel Hunt in London Editing by Edmund Blair and David Evans)

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