LONDON: Sugar, coffee and cocoa futures on ICE were lower on Monday as the rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant triggered widespread losses in equity and commodity markets.
March raw sugar fell 2.35% to 18.66 cents per lb by 1441 GMT after dipping to a low of 18.65 cents - the weakest level since Dec. 2.
Dealers said the scope for further losses may be limited as current prices could deter Indian exports while potentially encouraging more imports into China.
“The market is clearly bullish below 19 cents (per lb), and much less bullish above 20 cents,” broker Marex said in a weekly update.
China imported 630,000 tonnes of sugar in November, down 11.2% from the same month last year, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs.
March white sugar fell 1.6% to $490.20 a tonne.
March arabica coffee was down 3.7% at $2.2615 per lb as the market extended its pullback from a 10-year high of $2.5235 set on Dec. 7.
Dealers said funds have been scaling back long positions over the last few days as risk appetite diminishes against the backdrop of growing concerns about the new COVID-19 variant.
Speculators reduced their bullish bets in arabica coffee futures on ICE US in the week to Dec. 14, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
Much-needed rains in top producer Brazil this month have also contributed to the weakness in prices.
March robusta coffee fell 0.7% to $2,316 a tonne.
March London cocoa fell 1.9% to 1,672 pounds a tonne.
Light rains and mild seasonal winds in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week should boost the quality and size of the October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.
March New York cocoa was down 2.6% at $2,432 a tonne.
Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached 683,000 tonnes for the year running from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, down 6.4% from the same period last season, data from the cocoa regulator (CCC) showed on Monday.