May 4, 2018 / 5:42 PM / in 2 months

SOFTS-New York cocoa eases, raw sugar sees strongest week for 2018

(Rewrites throughout, updates prices; adds London holiday, comment, NEW YORK dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 4 (Reuters) - New York cocoa futures on ICE fell on Friday, pressured by the weak British pound and fund profit-taking, while raw sugar eased during the session but made its strongest weekly gain in 2018 after the May contract expired.

London cocoa, robusta coffee and white sugar markets will be shut on Monday for a holiday, and will reopen on Tuesday.


* July New York cocoa settled down $64, or 2.3 percent, at $2,777 per tonne.

* It closed the week down 1.9 percent, following three straight weekly gains.

* Prices were pressured by weakness in British sterling against the U.S. dollar and by funds taking profits after a recent buying spree, while traders also pointed to rising U.S. stocks.

* “There’s a growing sense of exasperation among traders because the market doesn’t seem to be following any fundamentals,” one dealer said. “It’s all in the hands of the funds.”

* Prices rallied more than 50 percent in the first four months of 2018 to a 1-1/2-year high as forecasts for a global surplus waned, though supplies remained abundant.

* July London cocoa settled down 8 pounds, or 0.41 percent, at 1,932 pounds per tonne, boosted by the weak pound.

* This pushed the New York July premium over London further below Tuesday’s 41-year high around $240.


* July raw sugar settled down 0.18 cent, or 1.5 percent, at 11.51 cents per lb. The front month closed the week up 2.6 percent after the May contract expired, breaking a streak of nine successive weekly losses due to ample global supplies.

* Sucden said in a quarterly report that the combined global surplus for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons was getting close to 20 million tonnes.

* “Lower flat price could decrease this surplus a little further, but only through ethanol parities since beet and cane crop areas are already planted,” the trade house added.

* August white sugar settled down $2.40, or 0.7 percent, at $321.10 per tonne.


* July arabica coffee settled down 1.75 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $1.226 per lb, as dry weather in top grower Brazil favored the ripening and harvest of the crop.

* July robusta coffee settled down $18, or 1 percent, at $1,813 per tonne. For the week, it closed up 2.9 percent, the strongest weekly rise for the second-position contract since June 2017.

* Robusta prices were supported this week by sharply lower exports from Indonesia, traders said. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York, and Ana Ionova and Nigel Hunt in London; Editing by Susan Fenton and James Dalgleish)

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