Sugar Futures Rise as the Market Seeks Direction

Sugar futures rose Wednesday with the market stuck trading in a sideways pattern at a time when one harvest is still underway and the next is still uncertain.

Raw sugar for March was up 1.6% at 14.26 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, with futures stuck in the center of a range they've traded in for more than a month.

"Attention is also being focused already on Brazil's 2018/19 production in the case of sugar despite the fact that the 2017/18 processing period still has some time to run," Commerzbank noted.

Sugar production in Brazil for 2017/2018 is expected to be higher than last year. According to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association Unica, 26.4 million tons of sugar have been produced in the center-south region by mid-September, about 6% more than the same period last year.

The International Sugar Organization expects production to outstrip demand for sugar this year by 4.6 million tons, an increase to its estimate of 3 million tons in June, with sugar supplies expected to reach a record 179.3 million tons.

Analysts are still unclear about the direction of 2018/2019 production, with estimates of Brazilian production ranging from a decline of 1.3 million ton to an increase of 1 million tons next year.

Archer Consulting released a preliminary estimate for the 2018/2019 crop Tuesday, saying that it sees a small expansion of cane fields in Brazil but a greater emphasis on ethanol production, which would leave sugar production stagnant next year at 35.5 million tons.

In other markets, cocoa for December was down 0.2% at $2,076 a ton, arabica coffee for December lost 0.2% at $1.2515 a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice for November rose 1.7% to $1.58 a pound and December cotton was up 1.2% at 68.35 cents a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 04, 2017 11:35 ET (15:35 GMT)