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NEW YORK: Raw sugar futures closed up on Monday on ICE on news of fresh demand for the sweetener, but an uncertain outlook regarding the coronavirus pandemic and fund sales were limiting gains.

Arabica coffee was also up. Trading for robusta coffee, white sugar and London cocoa was absent due to a holiday.

May raw sugar ??settled up 0.13 cent, or 0.9%, at 14.84 cents per lb.

Dealers said fresh demand news gave some support to prices on Monday, with talks of new tenders to buy sugar from Ethiopia and Pakistan. There were also talks of Chinese buyers in the market, although no deals were confirmed.

The spike in coronavirus cases in several countries, however, is putting a lid on gains.

Speculators cut their net long position in raw sugar futures on ICE by 9,265 contracts to 105,749 contracts in week to March 30, the CFTC said on Friday.

May arabica coffee settled up 0.5 cent, or 0.4%, at $1.221 per lb.

Dry weather in most growing areas in top producer Brazil is seeing supporting prices, dealers said, as it could hurt bean growth in the last development stage before the harvest starts.

Speculators cut their net long position in arabica coffee by 9,349 contracts to 12,236 contracts in the week to March 30, CFTC said on Friday.

Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said arabica futures may seek a support at $1.1990 per lb in the new quarter, then retest a resistance at $1.3985/lb.

May New York cocoa settled down $56, or 2.3%, at $2,336 a tonne.

Speculators switched to a net short position in New York cocoa futures of 2,259 contracts in the week to March 30, cutting 14,674 contracts.

Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said cocoa may test a support at $2,400 per tonne in the new quarter, adding that a break below could cause it to fall into a range of $2.177-$2,300.

Rainfall was below average last week across Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions, but farmers remained hopeful of an abundant April-to-September mid-crop provided the rains pick up as expected this month.

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