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LONDON: ICE London cocoa hit a 1-1/2 months low on Friday as traders digested data showing plunging demand for the chocolate ingredient amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sugar headed 1% higher while arabica coffee fell. December London cocoa had fallen 6 pounds, or 0.4%, to 1,625 pounds per tonne by 1327 GMT, having hit its lowest since late August earlier.

December New York cocoa fell $11, or 0.4%, to $2,333 a tonne, but held above a 2-1/2 month low hit on Thursday. Asia's third-quarter cocoa grind, a measure of demand, fell 10.1% from a year earlier, as conditions worsened from the second quarter, when the grind fell 6%.

North America's third quarter cocoa grind fell 4.0% from a year earlier, improving somewhat from the second quarter's 10% plunge. Europe's third quarter cocoa grind fell 4.7% from a year earlier, after sinking 8.9% in the second quarter.

March raw sugar rose 0.15 cents, or 1.1%, to 14.33 cents per lb, having hit a 7-1/2 month high on Monday.

They noted, however, that speculators, the main buyers, may be running out of funds to push prices much higher.

December white sugar rose $4.50, or 1.2%, to $392.70 a tonne. December arabica coffee fell 1.1 cent, or 1%, to $1.0840 per lb. Brazilian coffee farmers sold 64% of the 2020 crop by Oct. 13, more than the five year average of 53% sales by mid-October, consultancy Safras & Mercado said.

Indicating improved demand, the amount of green coffee stocked in warehouses in the United States fell by 343,271 60-kg bags to 6.4 million bags by the end of September, the second consecutive reduction. November robusta coffee rose $4, or 0.3%, to $1,268 a tonne.