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LONDON: Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their lowest in four months on Thursday as fears persisted that the Omicron coronavirus variant could hammer a nascent global economic recovery.

In contrast coffee prices edged higher as container shipping backlogs continue, keeping supplies tight.

SUGAR

March raw sugar was 0.1% lower at 18.59 cents per lb by 1535 GMT after hitting its lowest since early August at 18.46 cents.

Dealers said sugar is unlikely to head higher despite positive fundamentals because the market remains fixated by the Omicron variant and has weeks to wait before the emergence of data on the scale of the threat it poses to global health.

Indian sugar mills produced 4.72 million tonnes of sugar in October and November, nearly 10% more than a year ago, a trade body said.

Top producer Brazil exported 2.67 million tonnes of sugar in November, against 2.9 million tonnes in the same month last year, data showed.

March white sugar fell 0.1% to $483.90 a tonne, having hit its lowest in 2-1/2 months at $482.50.

COFFEE

March arabica coffee rose 1.2% to $2.3600 per lb.

Top producer Brazil exported only 175,104 tonnes of green coffee in November, versus 275,841 tonnes a year earlier, data showed.

January robusta coffee rose 0.1% to $2,317 a tonne, having closed with a 2.3% gain on Wednesday.

The market for both robusta and arabica remains well supported by container shipping shortages and record high freight rates that are prompting consumers to dip into stocks to source supplies.

Heavy rains have triggered floods and landslides in top robusta producer Vietnam. Beach towns Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Vietnam’s main coffee growing province, Dak Lak were hardest hit.

COCOA

March London cocoa rose 2% to 1,672 pounds a tonne after dipping to a four-month low of 1,629 pounds on Wednesday.

March New York cocoa gained 3.7% to $2,437 a tonne, having hit a four-month low of $2,333 on Wednesday.

Cocoa is gaining support from signs supply is falling in top producing region West Africa.

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