Bloomberg News

Cocoa Drops for Fifth Session; Sugar, Cotton Gain; Coffee Falls

December 30, 2011

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa fell for a fifth session on signs that supplies will be ample as Europe’s debt crisis threatens economic growth. Sugar, cotton and orange juice gained, while coffee slid.

In the week ended Dec. 18, cocoa deliveries to ports from farms in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, rose 14 percent from a year earlier to 578,368 metric tons, a document from the industry’s regulator showed. Purchases from farmers in Ghana, the second-largest grower, rose 4.3 percent in the first nine weeks of the current season, the Ghana Cocoa Board said.

“Prices have weakened on supply ideas, especially from western Africa, where arrivals and export declarations are running ahead of last year,” Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an e-mailed report.

Cocoa for March delivery dropped 2.3 percent to settle at $2,083 a ton at 11:59 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $2,076, the lowest since Dec. 19. The price has plunged 31 percent this year.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities has dropped 3.4 percent since June 30 as Europe’s debt crisis escalated.

“Traders are also worried about the economic situation in Europe, the top destination for a lot of the cocoa produced in the world,” Scoville said.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery climbed 1.6 percent to 23.51 cents a pound on ICE. The sweetener has slumped 27 percent in 2011, after advancing the previous three years.

Cotton futures for March delivery gained 1 percent to 91.63 cents a pound on ICE. Prices have still tumbled 37 percent in 2011, the most among commodities tracked by the GSCI.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery advanced 0.2 percent to $1.6855 a pound in New York. The price has climbed 3.1 percent this year.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery retreated 1.1 percent to $2.2425 a pound on ICE. The commodity is down 6.8 percent in 2011, heading for the first yearly drop since 2008.

In London futures trading, cocoa and robusta coffee slid on NYSE Liffe, while refined sugar rose.

--With assistance from Catarina Saraiva in New York and Keith Jenkins in London. Editors: Millie Munshi, Daniel Enoch

To contact the reporter on this story: Marvin G. Perez in New York at mperez71@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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