White Sugar Gains on Africa, Middle East Demand; Cocoa Retreats

White sugar is heading for its first weekly gain in more than a month in London as demand to supply Muslim nations before Ramadan increased and countries in Africa favor the refined variety. Cocoa fell and coffee gained.

Muslim nations usually stock up sugar before Ramadan, when people fast during the day and sweet treats are common at night. The fasting month starts in July this year. African nations are replacing their imports of crystal sugar with refined sweetener as the two varieties are trading at similar levels, Naim Beydoun, a broker at Swiss Sugar Brokers in Rolle, Switzerland, said in a report e-mailed on May 29.

“August white sugar continues to be supported by short covering as there were some reports of shipments getting booked ahead of the Ramadan holiday,” Arthur Liming, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a report e-mailed yesterday. “Demand from Africa and the Middle East has turned up in the past week.”

White, or refined, sugar for delivery in August added 0.2 percent to $479.10 a metric ton by 10:06 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London. The commodity is poised to gain 0.7 percent this week and fell for the past five. Raw sugar for delivery in July was up 0.4 percent to 16.71 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Stronger demand from African countries helped boost the premium white sugar commands over the raw variety even as refined supplies from Thailand increase, Beydoun said. The so-called white premium gained 5.8 percent to $111.2876 a ton over the past week, data on Bloomberg showed. Thailand is the world’s second biggest exporter of sugar.

Crystal sugar has an International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis level of between 130 and 180, according to the website of Cepea, a University of Sao Paulo research group. A lower level corresponds to a higher degree of whiteness. Refined sugar futures traded on NYSE Liffe in London call for an ICUMSA level of 45.

Robusta coffee for delivery in July rose 0.2 percent to $1,888 a ton on NYSE Liffe. Arabica coffee for the same delivery month was up 0.4 percent to $1.263 a pound on ICE.

Cocoa for delivery in July was down 0.1 percent at 1,498 pounds ($2,277) a ton in London. Cocoa for the same delivery month slid 0.2 percent to $2,207 a ton in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at Ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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