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NEW YORK/LONDON: Raw sugar futures on ICE hit a near two-week low on Friday as fears over global inflation and the fast spreading Omicron coronavirus variant unnerved global markets.

SUGAR

March raw sugar settled down 0.29 cent, or 1.5%, at 19.11 cents per lb, having hit its lowest since Dec. 6 at 19.01? cents.

“It is still tracking crude oil, which slumped as concerns about Omicron are on the rise,” said a broker.

Dealers said sugar is stuck in a range of 18.50-20.50 cents, with concerns over dry weather in top producer Brazil and slowing exports from India underpinning prices, but Omicron fears capped gains.

Expectations for an improvement in next year’s Brazil’s center-south crop also weighed on the market, dealers said. Unica sees a 8.5% increase in agricultural yields next season, which would put the sugarcane crop at around 570 million tonnes, near the high end of recent estimates.

March white sugar fell $6.40, or 1.3%, at $498.00 a tonne.

COCOA

March London cocoa settled down 13 pounds, or 0.8%, to 1,704 pounds per tonne?, having hit a 1-1/2 month high on Thursday.

A week-long strike by dockers in Ivory Coast’s two main ports of Abidjan and San Pedro could hurt cocoa bean exports from the world’s top cocoa producing nation after workers blocked access to the ports on Friday.

Dealers said concerns about weak chocolate consumption amid renewed COVID-19 movement restrictions were capping cocoa’s gains.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) said a mild Harmattan is projected for December to March, which should, if it is realised, result in a good mid-crop harvest. March New York cocoa fell $50, or 2.0%, to $2,497 a tonne.

COFFEE

March arabica coffee settled down 2.1 cents, or 0.9%, at $2.3475 per lb.

Dealers noted top producer Brazil has seen much needed rains across the vast coffee growing areas this month. Further rains are forecast for the remainder of the month. March robusta coffee rose $34, or 1.5%, at $2,333 a tonne.

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