GO
Loading...

SOFTS-Coffee at 2-year high on Brazil drought fears, cocoa rises

* Analysts see damage to Brazil coffee due to drought

* Cocoa underpinned by expected global deficit in 2013/14

* Sugar prices capped by ample supplies

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures rose over 2 percent on Tuesday to hit a two-year high and sugar hovered near a four-month peak on concerns over a drought in top grower Brazil.

Cocoa gained to a 2-1/2-year high on technically-driven buying, underpinned by expectations of a global deficit and strong demand.

May arabica coffee futures on ICE were 4.7 cents, or 2.3 percent, higher at $2.0810 per lb as of 1259 GMT after peaking at $2.0890, a two-year high.

The cost of arabica beans has surged around 85 percent since the start of the year, boosted by concerns that dry weather in top grower Brazil would cut the size of the 2014/15 crop and could also curtail production in 2015/16.

"It is certain that some damage has been done which is irreversible," Birgit Wippler, coffee analyst with F.O. Licht, said.

"The main driver in arabicas is still the drought in Brazil. Several analysts have reduced their production estimates for 2014/15 in Brazil. It seems the drought will also have an impact on the next 2015/16 crop, apart from the damage it has caused on the upcoming 2014/15 crop."

Wippler said arabica coffee was pulling robustas higher.

"Robustas are gaining on spillover support," she said.

Prices for robusta, which is mainly used for instant or soluble coffee, has failed to keep pace with arabicas during the recent rally but still climbed to a one-year high.

Brazil is the top producer of arabica coffee and Vietnam is the most important robusta grower.

May Liffe robusta coffee was up $33, or 1.5 percent, at $2,180 per tonne, having touched $2,192, a one-year peak.

SUGAR RISES

Sugar prices were little changed, underpinned by concerns over dry weather in cane growing areas, although brokers said supplies remained ample despite some reduction in the expected size of the crop in Brazil, the top producer of the sweetener.

May raw sugar futures on ICE were down 0.05 cent, or 0.3 percent, at 18.17 cents a lb, having touched a four-month high of 18.47 cents a lb on March 6.

"This rally will be short lived, as this market is fed by speculation," a European broker said.

"Speculators forget that destination markets are not in a hurry to run after fresh supplies as they have plenty of sugar in stocks."

May white sugar futures on Liffe eased a marginal $0.80 or 0.2 percent to $477.30 per tonne in thin volume of 1,195 lots.

Cocoa futures edged higher to multi-year peaks, supported by an expected global deficit in the 2013/14 season.

ICE May cocoa futures were up $38 or 1.3 percent, at $3,022 per tonne, having touched a 2-1/2-year high of $3,027.

May cocoa futures on Liffe rose 26 pounds, or 1.4 percent, to 1,886 pounds a tonne, having earlier touched a 2-1/2-year high of 1,888 pounds.

"Provided prices can build on this level and further gains break out above 1,870 pounds, targets towards 1,900 pounds will be in sight," said Kash Kamal, research analyst with Sucden Financial.

"Momentum indicators are hinting at continued upside move."

(Editing by David Evans)