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Sugar Jumps to Highest Since February; Coffee Gains; Cocoa Drops

Sugar rose to the highest price since early February in New York after production plunged in Brazil, the world’s biggest grower. Coffee increased, while cocoa fell.

Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the country’s biggest producing-region, tumbled 30 percent in the first half of October from a year earlier, industry association Unica said yesterday. Prices surged 24 percent in October, the biggest monthly gain since August 2009, as adverse weather damaged crops in Brazil, China and Russia.

“People are worried about falling supplies from Brazil,” said George Kopp, a senior market analyst at International Futures Group in Chicago.

Raw sugar for March delivery gained 0.41 cent, or 1.4 percent, to settle at 29.12 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the commodity touched 29.8 cents, the highest level for a most-active contract since Feb. 2. The price has rallied 8.1 percent this year.

Output in Brazil’s Center South declined to 1.5 million metric tons in the Oct. 1-Oct. 15 period, from about 2.16 million a year earlier, Unica said.

In London, refined-sugar futures for March delivery fell $5.30, or 0.7 percent, to $724 a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Coffee Jumps

Arabica-coffee futures for December delivery advanced 6.85 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.0345 a pound in New York. The price climbed 11 percent this month and has advanced 50 percent in 2010.

On NYSE Liffe in London, robusta-coffee futures for January delivery rose $56, or 2.9 percent, to $1,970 a ton. Prices jumped 14 percent this month.

India’s harvest may begin in mid-November, about three weeks later than normal, said Ramesh Rajah, the president of the Coffee Exporters Association of India. The country produces both arabica and robusta beans.

“Coffee prices may continue to climb until weather concerns ease in Brazil and Vietnam,” said Rajah, who on Aug. 24 correctly predicted a 10 percent gain in prices. India’s “harvest has got delayed, but the good news is that the crop is in excellent condition,” he said yesterday.

Robusta beans are harvested mostly in Asia and parts of Africa, while arabica coffee is grown mainly in Latin America and brewed by specialty companies including Starbucks Corp.

Cocoa Declines

Cocoa futures for December delivery fell $48, or 1.7 percent, to $2,797 a ton on ICE. Earlier, the contract touched $2,780, the lowest level since Oct. 21. Prices have declined 15 percent this year.

Cocoa fell after ABN Amro and VM Group said output in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest grower, will increase in the year that began Oct. 1.

In London, cocoa futures for December delivery declined 16 pounds, or 0.9 percent, to 1,856 pounds ($2,973) a ton. The commodity had its fourth straight monthly loss, the longest streak of declines since May 2003.

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