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LONDON: Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their highest in nearly four years on Wednesday, buoyed by optimism in the wider financial markets and by nearby supply tightness.

March raw sugar rose by 0.8% to 16.86 cents per lb at 1607 GMT, having hit 17.09 cents, its highest since April 2017.

Dealers said prices are being driven by limited nearby supplies, with Indian production forecasts slightly marked down, a continued poor harvest in Thailand, and uncertainty over the coming harvest in Brazil.

Commerzbank said the sugar market is expected to record a slightly higher surplus this season versus the last; however, price risk is skewed to the upside with lower output likely to drive prices up more than higher output will drive them down.

Kraft Heinz and Conagra Brands said on Tuesday they may raise prices this year on some products that use wheat, sugar and other commodities that are becoming increasingly expensive due to high demand.

ED&F Man, which trades agri-commodities including sugar and coffee, has appointed ex-Glencore executive Chris Mahoney as chairman, effective March 15, and its Chief Financial Officer Lukas Paravicini has departed.

May white sugar rose by 1.1% to $461.30 per tonne.

May arabica coffee edged up 0.2% to $1.2650 per lb, having hit a one-month low of $1.2210 set on Friday.

Dealers said rising hopes of an economic recovery and limited selling from Brazil are putting a floor under prices.

May robusta coffee gained 0.7% to $1,372 a tonne.

May New York cocoa fell 1.6% to $2,390 a tonne, having hit its lowest since mid-November.

The global cocoa market will record a surplus of about 100,000 tonnes in the current 2020/21 season, the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) said.

Cocoa has been rangebound for much of this year, with economic recovery hopes offset by excess supplies.

May London cocoa rose 0.2% to 1,758 pounds a tonne.

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