(Includes closing prices, adds comments)
NEW YORK/LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – Raw sugar futures on ICE fell for the fifth straight session on Tuesday and hit their lowest since late December, weighed by risk-off sentiment in the wider financial markets and improved near term supply.
Coffee and cocoa also closed down.
* May raw sugar settled down 0.1 cent, or 0.6%, at 15.43 cents per lb, having hit a low of 15.05.
* Dealers said a combination of limited physical demand and adequate supply thanks to good Indian exports is pressuring sugar, as is the broad sell-off in other risk assets.
* The premium for May sugar over July is at its narrowest since last September, indicating improved nearby availability. <SB-1=R>
* Cepea, an agricultural think-tank at the University of Sao Paulo, said Brazil ethanol prices fell sharply in the last days due to movement restrictions amid the pandemic. Smaller ethanol prices tend to lead mills to produce more sugar.
* But there are risks for shipments of the upcoming Brazilian sugar crop, due to expected port congestion in the country.
* May white sugar settled down $8.90, or 2.0%, at $440.50 a tonne, having hit its lowest since early January at $432.40.
* May arabica coffee settled down 2.5 cents, or 1.9%, at $1.276 per lb, heading back towards a one-month low hit late last week.
* Dealers said there are almost no rains forecast for the next week in top coffee producer Brazil’s growing regions. On the downside for prices, however, measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, also a key coffee consumer, are getting more severe.
* Arabica coffee prices in Brazil in the last week retreated from a recent all-time high, Cepea said.
* Uganda’s coffee exports surged 16% year-on-year in February, helped by good yields and favourable prices, the state-run sector regulator, UCDA, said.
* May robusta coffee settled down $21, or 1.5%, at $1,377 a tonne.
* May London cocoa settled down 14 pounds, or 0.8%, to 1,714 pounds per tonne.
* Dealers noted good rains are expected in West Africa this month, which should favour the tail end of the mid-crop. At the same time there are concerns over chocolate demand in Europe, which is grappling with rising COVID-19 infections.
* May New York cocoa settled down $58, or 2.3%, to $2,447 a tonne. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and Maytaal Angel; Editing by Mark Potter and David Gregorio)
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