Sugar Soars as Buyers Push Out Short Traders

By Julie WernauFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Sugar futures soared, notching their biggest one-day percentage gain in five months as short-positioned traders took profits.

Raw sugar for March rose 4.7% to end at 14.41 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, its highest close since Dec. 6.

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"How much more spec selling can you realistically expect with the year end approaching?" said James Liddiard at Agrilion Commodity Advisers. "How many of these guys are going to want to take profits to minimize any losses?"

Funds had added 66,655 lots of new shorts with two weeks to go before the end of the year. Mr. Liddiard said the move also may have been supported by a recent estimate that the market should expect about 63,000 lots of buying in the March contract related to index funds rebalancing to maintain the percentage of assets they are allocating to the sugar market. That would equate to approximately 8% of the total open interest in sugar, he said, and would account for speculators in the market anticipating the move.

In other markets, cocoa for March was off 0.5% to end at $1,912 a ton, March arabica coffee closed down 0.1% at $1.2175 a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice for January was off 0.2% to close at $1.4080 a pound, and March cotton lost 0.2% to settle at 75.03 cents a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 19, 2017 16:08 ET (21:08 GMT)