Cotton, Sugar, Coffee Futures Advance; Cocoa, Orange Juice Drop

Cotton and sugar climbed as concerns eased that global demand for commodities may slump. Coffee also gained, while cocoa and orange juice declined.

In the first three days of the this week, cotton tumbled 9.7 percent and sugar plunged 10 percent after an earthquake and tsunami killed thousands in Japan and sparked explosions at nuclear plants, threatening the global economy. The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials gained as much as 1.1 percent today.

“The world is looking now at commodities and saying there is no reason for prices to be going down,” said John Flanagan, the president of Flanagan Trading Corp. in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.

Cotton for May delivery surged by the exchange limit of 7 cents, or 3.6 percent, to settle at $1.9912 a pound at 2:49 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price declined 2.8 percent this week. The fiber reached a record $2.197 on March 7 as global demand outstripped supplies.

The dollar was down 1.6 percent this week against a basket of six major currencies, enhancing the appeal of goods in the U.S., the world’s biggest cotton shipper.

“A weakened dollar makes export commodities cheaper and more desirable,” Flanagan said.

Raw-sugar futures for May delivery climbed 0.97 cent, or 3.6 percent, to 27.71 cents a pound. This week, the price dropped 4 percent. The commodity reached a 30-year high of 36.08 cents on Feb. 2.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery advanced 5.3 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.762 a pound. The price gained 0.7 percent this week. On March 9, the commodity reached a 14-year high of $2.9665.

Cocoa Tumbles

Cocoa futures for May delivery plunged $155, or 4.7 percent, to $3,127 a metric ton in New York. This week, the price plummeted 8.4 percent, the most since mid-June 2009.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery slid 1.4 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $1.6345 a pound. This week, the price dropped 2.7 percent.

On London’s NYSE Liffe, refined-sugar futures rose, while cocoa and robusta coffee fell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Prentice in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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