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NEW YORK/LONDON: Raw sugar futures on ICE closed lower on Friday with the market back on the defensive after an initial spike following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while arabica coffee regained some ground after the prior session’s steep decline.

SUGAR

March raw sugar ??settled down 0.33 cent, or 1.8%, at 17.99 cents per lb as the market slid further from a one-month peak of 18.87 cents set on Thursday.

Dealers noted a rise in energy prices had led to sentiment that there might be increased use of cane to make biofuel ethanol rather than sugar, particularly in Brazil.

Brazil’s oil company Petrobras has however adopted a wait-and-see approach on domestic fuel prices and so at least in the short term there may be little impact on ethanol demand.

Citi said the weak ethanol demand in Brazil is one factor behind a bearish outlook for sugar. It sees prices falling to as low as 16 cents in six to 12 months.

The expiry of the March contract on Monday was providing a short-term focus with the position’s premium to May rising to 0.45 cents a lb, up from around 0.4 cents a lb on Thursday.

Open interest on the March contract stood at 37,541 lots, equivalent to about 1.8 million tonnes of sugar, as of Feb. 24, down 28% from a day earlier.

May white sugar lost $6.90, or 1.4%, to settle at $492.60 a tonne.

COFFEE

May arabica coffee rose 0.75 cent, or 0.3%, to $2.3865 per lb, after falling by nearly 4% on Thursday.

Dealers said funds had scaled back a large net long position in arabica coffee with the crisis in Ukraine helping to diminish risk appetite.

The market remained underpinned, however, by low exchange certified stocks.

Citi upgraded its price target for arabica to $2.55.

May robusta coffee was little changed at $2,178 a tonne.

COCOA

May London cocoa fell 5 pounds, or 0.3%, to 1,729 pounds per tonne?.

May New York cocoa fell $2, or 0.1%, to $2,614 a tonne.

Citi raised its three-month price target for New York cocoa to $2,700, but said that “price momentum indicators for the next two weeks read neutral.”

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