NEW YORK/LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - New York cocoa futures on ICE extended gains to a 16-month high on Monday on fund buying after data showed speculators took the most bullish stance in 1-1/2 years, while raw sugar edged up from the prior session’s 8-1/2 month low.
Raw sugar, arabica coffee and New York cocoa markets are opening an hour later than usual through March 23 due to the start of U.S. Daylight Savings Time.
* May New York cocoa settled up $81, or 3.29 percent, at $2,546 per tonne, but traded as high as $2,558, a 16-month high for the second position.
* Speculators continued adding long positions on Monday despite heavily overbought levels, dealers said, after data late Friday showed speculators increased their net long position to a 1-1/2 year high in the week to March 6.
* Total open interest rose to a 10-month high at 294,606 lots on Friday, as the market closed higher for its fourth straight week, ICE data showed.
* “Most in the trade anticipate the increased demand and current West Africa weather is hot enough and dry enough to create production concerns,” said Jack Scoville, a vice president with Price Futures Group in Chicago.
* May London cocoa settled up 50 pounds, or 2.9 percent, at 1,791 pounds per tonne. It rose to a session high of 1,998 pounds, just one tick below Friday’s 14-month high.
* May raw sugar settled up 0.09 cent, or 0.7 percent, at 12.93 cents per lb, edging away from Friday’s 8-1/2 month low of 12.75 cents.
* Dealers said there were mixed signals on supply with more cane to be made into ethanol rather than sugar in Brazil, as well as poor crop weather in Europe, offset by rising output in India and Thailand.
* May white sugar settled up $2.10, or 0.6 percent, at $359.40 per tonne.
* The May premium over August LSUK8-Q8 rose as high as $6.40, a 13-month high, before narrowing to around $4.90.
* “Refined whites exports out of the EU are said to be stalled for the time being due to very low prices and this is perhaps creating a (we feel temporary) reduction in deliverable refined sugar,” Nick Penney, senior trader at Sucden Financial Research, said in a note.
* May arabica coffee settled down 0.7 cent, or 0.58 percent, at $1.1945 per lb.
* May robusta coffee settled down $11, or 0.6 percent, at $1,769 per tonne. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Nigel Hunt in London Editing by David Evans and Mark Heinrich)