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NEW YORK/LONDON: Raw sugar futures on ICE steadied on Wednesday as traders weighed surging oil prices against the return of rains to drought-stricken top producer Brazil. New York cocoa hit a fresh one-month low, meanwhile.

July raw sugar settled up 0.02 cents, or 0.1%, at 17.73 cents per lb.

Oil prices hit two-year highs on signs of strong fuel demand in Western economies and fading hopes for the return of Iranian supplies.

Rising energy prices can tempt Brazilian cane mills to ramp up cane-based ethanol production at the expense of sugar.

Dealers said, however, that current rains in top producer Brazil were likely to deter investors from increasing their bets on sugar price rises.

Rains this week in Brazil’s center-south regions will likely improve yields for cane to be harvested later in the season.

August white sugar settled down $2.20, or 0.5%, at $463.30 a tonne.

uly arabica coffee settled down 0.5 cent, or 0.3%, at $1.572 per lb. It hit a 4-1/2-year high last week but has been mostly retreating since then.

Dealers said rains have been reported in many of the coffee areas in top producer Brazil, lessening concerns over next year’s crop after prolonged dryness damaged the current crop.

“IRI forecast likely dry weather for most of the rest of the year in the south of Brazil.

However in our opinion it is still far too early to speculate with much certainty for the 2022/23 (crop),” said Rabobank in a note.

September robusta coffee settled down $13, or 0.8%, at $1,608 a tonne, having hit its highest in 2-1/2 years on Tuesday at $1,693.

September London cocoa settled down 4 pounds, or 0.2%, to 1,609 pounds per tonne, having hit its lowest since early May on Tuesday.

The world’s top cocoa producer Ivory Coast had sold 950,000 tonnes of cocoa in contracts by the end of May for the 2021/2022 season at a country discount instead of its usual country premium, regulator and industry sources said.

September New York cocoa settled down $26, or 1.1%, to $2,392 a tonne, having also hit its lowest since early May at $2,390.

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