April 6, 2018 / 5:51 PM / 8 months ago

SOFTS-Cocoa falls, arabica coffee and sugar hover above lows

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

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 6 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE fell on Friday, with the London market reaching a five-week low on improving crop prospects in top grower Ivory Coast, while arabica coffee and sugar prices eased but remained above recent lows.

COCOA

* May London cocoa settled down 43 pounds, or 2.5 percent, at 1,685 pounds per tonne.

* May New York cocoa settled down $55, or 2.19 percent, at $2,453 per tonne. The spot contract closed the week down 4 percent, its biggest weekly drop since December after falling from Monday’s 1-1/2-year high of $2,647.

* Improving crop prospects in Ivory Coast tempered bullish sentiment although the strength of buying around Thursday’s two-week low of $2,433 suggested the market may be set for a period of consolidation, traders said.

* London and New York nearby spreads moved in opposite directions for the second straight day. While the London May discount to July LCCK8-N8 narrowed to as much as 32 pounds from 38 pounds on Thursday, the New York May discount to July CCK8-N8 widened to as much as $57 from $31 the prior session.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar settled down 0.01 cent, or 0.1 percent, at 12.34 cents per lb, hovering above last week’s 2-1/2-year low of 12.18 cents.

* The spot contract closed the week down 0.1 percent, the sixth straight week lower.

* Prices turned lower as the currency in Brazil, the world’s biggest sugar and coffee grower, fell against the U.S. dollar.

* Fundamentals remained bearish, however, with the market set for global surpluses in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.

* “The bullishly inclined are focusing on the lack of follow through selling in both London (whites) and especially NY (raws) and the size of the spec net and gross short positions,” said James Liddiard of consultancy Agrilion, when prices were firm earlier in the session.

* Brazil’s sugarcane industry on Thursday took aim at policies undertaken by Pakistan and India to protect local producers and boost sugar exports, arguing those measures could further depress global prices.

* August white sugar settled down $1.20, or 0.4 percent, at $342.40 per tonne. This is within sight of the 2-1/2-year low of $337.90 reached on March 28.

COFFEE

* May arabica coffee settled down 0.1 cent, or 0.09 percent, at $1.1745 per lb, not far from Wednesday’s nine-month low of $1.1595.

* The prospect of a large Brazilian crop kept prices low as farmers sold old-crop stocks ahead of the harvest.

* May robusta coffee settled down $29, or 1.7 percent, at $1,730 per tonne. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Nigel Hunt in London Editing by David Evans and Tom Brown)

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