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Sugar Futures Post Modest Gains on Rising Demand

October 5, 2017 at 16:49 by Andrew Moran

Sugar prices are trading higher towards the end of the trading week. Investors are diving into sugar on reports that there is growing demand for refined sugar, helping the white commodity hit a two-week high.

March sugar futures climbed 0.14 cents, or 0.98%, to 14.36 cents per pound at 16:35 GMT on Thursday on the ICE Futures exchange. Sugar prices are poised to settle at their best levels in two weeks. Year-to-date, sugar has declined more than 22% on weak demand.

Since the middle of March, sugar prices have been coming down, a trend that stems from poor demand for refined sugar. Sugar has tumbled from 20 cents to such low levels that it would not be enough to pay sugar refiners’ production costs. This is reportedly beginning to change.

Investors have been buying sugar futures in heavy volumes, causing the white premium to surge from $53.50 per ton to $62.75. It remains unclear what exactly has triggered the buying spree, but the rebound is improving demand for sugar, prompting producers to jump back into production.

Last week, Societe General SA noted that sugar is one of the most oversold commodities in the market today, which they believe will inevitably lead to rising prices. These remarks were echoed by Commerzbank on Wednesday in a note to clients.

Attention is also being focused already on Brazil’s 2018/19 production in the case of sugar despite the fact that the 2017/18 processing period still has some time to run.

The International Sugar Organization (ISO) is predicting that output will be higher than demand by about 4.6 million tons, up from its June estimate of three million tons. Sugar supplies are projected to hit a record high of 180 million tons.

Other commodities are mixed on Thursday. November orange juice futures rose $0.011, or 0.70%. to $1.593 per pound. December wheat futures jumped $0.025, or 0.06%, to $4.425 per pound. December corn futures surged $0.0175, or 0.50%, to $3.50 per pound. December coffee futures increased $0.0170, or 1.36%, to $1.268 a pound.

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