Sugar Rebounds From 16-Month Low

By Carolyn Cui Features Dow Jones Newswires

Sugar rebounded Tuesday after hitting its lowest level in 16 months a day earlier, as traders awaited news out of Brazil regarding the pace of sugar production.

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Raw sugar for July added 0.3% to settle at 12.65 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange. The contract settled at 12.61 cents Monday, the lowest level for the front-month contract since February 2016.

An S&P Global Platts survey showed that sugar production in Brazil's key center-south region was expected to more than double in the first half of June to 2.45 million metric tons, which would also represent a 40% increase from the second half of May. Only 1.4 days were estimated to have been lost to rain during the period and current weather is ideal, suggesting that sugar mills would increase sugar production.

Brazil's Union of Sugar Cane Industry Association is scheduled to release the results Wednesday, the group said in a notice.

"Sugar production [will] set a new fortnightly record for this season due to a high sugar mix level and good crushing volumes," said Claudiu Covrig, a senior agriculture analyst at Platts Kingsman, a unit of S&P Platts.

Sugar traders are closely watching Brazil, as it is big enough to swing the global market. Despite a 30% drop in sugar prices from a year ago, many Brazilian mills would continue to produce sugar as they already locked in prices when they were higher.

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However, with current prices now below many producers' costs, it is expected that the amount of cane devoted to ethanol production will increase, said Nick Penney, senior trader at Sucden Financial Research, in a note to clients.

Michael McDougall, director of commodities agency at Societe Generale, noted that there were still more than 80,000 lots outstanding in the July contract, which is set to expire in four trading days.

The open interest is 39% above the expiry of the previous May contract, which ended up in a delivery of 1.5 million tons, second only to the record 1.9 million ton delivery in May 2015, according to Mr. McDougall.

"So potentially, we have a large delivery, and that, in theory should be negative," he said.

In other markets, cocoa for September gained 1% to close at $1,863 a ton, arabica coffee for July was up 0.6% to settle at $1.2530 a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice for July added 1% to $1.4125 a pound, and December cotton rose 0.7% to settle at 67.71 cents a pound.

Write to Carolyn Cui at carolyn.cui@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 15:12 ET (19:12 GMT)