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LONDON: London cocoa futures recovered on Thursday from the prior session's 20-month trough, though fears over a looming market surplus persist.

COCOA

September London cocoa rose 9 pounds, or 0.6%, to 1,559 pounds per tonne at 1314 GMT, having hit a low of 1,545 on Wednesday.

Sovereign bonds in Ivory Coast came under pressure after prime minister and ruling party candidate for the October presidential election, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died on Wednesday.

Political risk aside, prospects are improving for next season's cocoa crop from top producer Ivory Coast, while global demand for the chocolate ingredient continues to falter.

Top chocolate producer Barry Callebaut said its third-quarter sales fell 14.3% from a year earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.

September New York cocoa rose $16, or 0.7%, to $2,116 a tonne, having hit its lowest since December 2018 on Wednesday.

SUGAR

October raw sugar fell 0.07 cents, or 0.6%, at 12.01 cents per lb.

Oil prices steadied as coronavirus fears offset signs that gasoline demand is recovering. Rising oil prices encourage cane mills in Brazil to ramp up cane-based ethanol output at the expense of sugar.

Dealers said sugar was underpinned by steadier oil prices and concerns over dry weather in Brazil. At the same time the upside is capped by the pandemic and ample supplies overall.

August white sugar fell $2.50, or 0.7%, to $344.30 a tonne.

COFFEE

September arabica coffee edged up 0.2 cents, or 0.2%, at $1.0020 per lb, steadying after Monday's near 5% loss.

Citi downgraded its second-half coffee price forecast by more than 25% to 90 cents per lb, mostly due to expected weakness in the Brazilian real.

The real recovered on Thursday, but has been on a mostly downward trajectory, encouraging Brazilian exporters to sell dollar-priced coffee by raising their returns in local currency terms.

September robusta coffee rose $2, or 0.2%, at $1,194 a tonne.