(New throughout; updates prices; adds comment, TORONTO
TORONTO/LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE
fell on Friday, dropping below the highest levels since 2016
reached earlier this week on pressure from lower North American
first-quarter grind data, while raw sugar inched down to a
2-1/2-year low on ample global supplies.
* July New York cocoa settled down $70, or 2.5
percent, at $2,729 per tonne. It closed the week up 5.9 percent
after rallying by as much as 11 percent to a 1-1/2-year high at
* July London cocoa settled down 49 pounds, or 2.6
percent, at 1,829 pounds per tonne.
* Prices were pressured by data released late Thursday,
traders said, showing that North American cocoa grindings fell
1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018, at the low end of
* "It just tells you that it's still a bit sluggish in North
America," said one dealer. "Consumption is still slow and it's
* Some also viewed the higher year-over-year grind data in
Asia as bearish, focusing instead on its 3.2 percent drop from
the region's record fourth-quarter 2017 bean processing, traders
* The weak session stood in sharp contrast to the
strengthening New York futures premium over London, with the New
York July contract at a $152 premium over the London contract,
with dealers pointing to funds as the key driver.
* "The arbitrage is completely distorted and it's not
reflecting any fundamentals here," the dealer said.
* "There are people who are liquidating this arbitrage,"
said one U.S. trader, adding that it has origin hedging in New
* May raw sugar closed down 0.11 cent, or 0.9
percent, at 11.64 cents per lb, after falling to its weakest
since late September 2015 at 11.57 cents on pressure from large
global production, traders said.
* Total open interest remained above 1 million contracts,
the highest since February 2008, ICE data showed.
* Though Brazilian sugar exports are expected to fall in
2018-19, this will likely be offset by sharply higher production
from India and Thailand, traders said.
* August white sugar settled down 80 cents, or 0.2
percent, at $342.40 per tonne.
* The premium for the August white sugar contract
over July raws extended gains above $85 per tonne.
* July arabica coffee settled up 1.45 cents, or 1.3
percent, at $1.177 per lb.
* July robusta coffee settled down $8, or 0.5
percent, at $1,759 per tonne.
* Sucden Financial revised upward its 2018-19 coffee
production forecast for top grower Brazil to 60 million to 62
million bags, from 58 million bags previously forecast and up
from 52 million bags in 2017-18.
(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in Toronto and Ana Ionova in
Editing by Edmund Blair and Dan Grebler)
First Published: 2018-04-20 13:38:38
Updated 2018-04-20 20:02:36
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