Raw sugar futures ease as whites fall to five-week low

March raw sugar was down 0.03 cent, or 0.2% at 12.68 cents per lb

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker shifts a sack of sugar at a godown inside a sugar factory at Sanyan village in the western Indian state of Gujarat April 23, 2012.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker shifts a sack of sugar at a godown inside a sugar factory at Sanyan village in the western Indian state of Gujarat April 23, 2012.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

LONDON - Raw sugar futures eased on Monday and white sugar dipped to a five-week low, weakened partly by lower crude oil prices, while a major industry conference in Dubai provided the major focus.

SUGAR

* March raw sugar was down 0.03 cent, or 0.2 percent, at 12.68 cents per lb at 1458 GMT.

* Dealers said the Dubai industry conference had highlighted the difficulties currently faced by the sector with prices remaining at depressed levels.

* Dubai's Al Khaleej Sugar, the world's largest port-based refinery, said on Sunday it had restarted operations on Thursday after shutting down in mid-December because of weak demand in white sugar export markets.  

* A Reuters poll, however, indicated there could be a modest rebound by the end of the year with a small global deficit seen in 2019/20.  

* Speculators increased their net short position in raw sugar on ICE Futures U.S. to its biggest since October in the week to Jan. 8, U.S. government data showed on Friday in a report delayed by the partial government shutdown.  

* March white sugar was down $7.60, or 2.2 percent, at $326.30 a tonne after setting a five-week low of $326.10.

* Dealers said March's discount to May had widened further ahead of the former contract's expiry on Wednesday, indicating there was little appetite to take delivery.

* Cristal Union, France's second-largest sugar group, on Monday said the "golden age" for European Union sugar producers was over and it expected significant changes in the EU sugar sector. 

COCOA

* May London cocoa was up 26 pounds, or 1.6 percent, at 1,693 pounds a tonne.

* "The (technical) indicators are on the upside and this could set the scene for a challenge of resistance at 1,695 (pounds) in the coming days. Futures need to breach this level to regain upside momentum," said Sucden Financial technical analyst Geordie Wilkes.

* Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached 1.425 million tonnes between Oct. 1 and Feb 11, exporters estimated on Monday, up about 10 percent from 1.298 million tonnes in the same period last season. 

* May New York cocoa rose $22, or 1.0 percent, to $2,257 a tonne.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee fell 1.35 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $1.0125 per lb, weighed down partly by weakness in the currency of top grower Brazil.

* March robusta coffee was down $5, or 0.3 percent, at $1,545 a tonne.

(Reporting by Nigel Hunt Editing by David Goodman and David Evans) ((nigel.hunt@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8421; Reuters Messaging: nigel.hunt.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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