SOFTS-Brazil port fire lifts ICE Sugar to 1-year high
* Up to 2 mln tonnes sugar exported from Santos per month
* North American Q3 cocoa grind up 8.25 pct
(Adds details, quotes, updates prices)
LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A fire at Santos Port warehouses controlled by Brazil's largest sugar trader Copersucar rallied raw sugar futures by around 5 percent to a near 1-year high on Friday,
ICE March raw sugar futures were 0.78 cents, or 4.1 percent, at 19.78 cents per lb at 1214 GMT, after earlier hitting a 1-year high of 20.16 cents a lb on concerns over the impact of the fire on Brazilian exports.
"I think the market's reaction is justified. Santos is the primary supply point of raw sugar for the entire world," Czarnikow Director Toby Cohen said.
"Today's rally is about covering by trade shorts. But the longer term implications are more significant - in particular for export availability during the balance of this crop year."
"If the fire damages the ship loading equipment this is where there is much bigger problem. The loading facility is much more significant to the global market than the loss of the sugar."
Copersucar is one of the two largest logistics operators at the port.
According to Czarnikow, bulk sugar exports from the port of Santos have reached up to around 2 million tonnes per month this season and Copersucar accounts for around 25 percent of exports from the port.
December white sugar on Liffe was up $14.70, or 2.9 percent, at $521.00 a tonne.
COCOA TRIMS GAINS
Cocoa futures on ICE corrected lower following an expected rise in third quarter North American grindings, while arabica coffee futures on ICE were steady. ICE December cocoa fell $71, or 2.6 percent, to $2,696 a tonne.
Dealers said the market had been due a correction lower, having risen over 20 percent over the past four months, peaking at $2,776 the previous session, the highest level for the front month since September 2011.
North American cocoa grindings jumped 8.25 percent to their highest since at least 2009, data from the National Confectioners Association showed.
Third quarter grind figures from Europe, Asia and North America were broadly in line with expectations and showed strong demand, dealers and analysts said.
This has prompted some to say that the International Cocoa Organization's August estimate for global 2012/13 grindings rising 1.1 percent could need revising higher.
"In light of the latest grinding data, this estimate could prove to be too low, which would then result in a higher supply deficit," Commerzbank said in a daily note.
"For the 2013/14 crop year, which has been underway since October, an even higher deficit is likely because production looks set to be lower due to unfavourable weather conditions in West Africa, the main growing region."
Liffe March cocoa futures were 43 pounds or 2.5 percent lower at 1,715 pounds per tonne.
In robusta coffee, dealers eyed the latest certified stock draw-down, after stocks held in NYSE Liffe-nominated warehouses fell to 56,150 tonnes as of Oct. 14.
With top grower Vietnam's differentials remaining firm, coffee held in European warehouses remains the cheapest option for roasters, a London-based coffee broker said.
Liffe January robusta coffee was down $4, or 0.2 percent, at $1,629 a tonne.
"Most of the volume today is spread-based," said the broker.
December arabica coffee futures on ICE were up 0.15 cent or 0.1 percent at $1.1485 per lb.
Dealers awaited information on when the next Commitments of Traders (COT) data would be published.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has not yet confirmed when the next COT data will be published.
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; editing by William Hardy)