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Coffee Futures Drop to One-Year Low; Sugar Rises; Cocoa Falls

Coffee fell to a one-year low as inventories monitored by ICE Futures U.S. climbed for the seventh straight week. Sugar advanced, and cocoa dropped. Stockpiles of coffee monitored by ICE have jumped 20 percent since Nov. 1 to 1.53 million bags. Arabica futures in New York have dropped 11 percent this year after surging 77 percent in 2010.

“Warehouse stockpiles are higher, and that may be keeping buyers at bay,” Sterling Smith, an analyst at Country Hedging in St. Paul, Minnesota, said in a telephone interview.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery fell 1.2 percent to settle at $2.151 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE in New York. Earlier, the price touched $2.142, the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 16, 2010. This week, the commodity declined 5.6 percent, the fourth straight drop.

After the close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its forecast for global production to 133.8 million bags in the year that started Oct. 1 from a June estimate of 135 million. Demand will be 133.86 million, indicating a shortfall instead of a surplus, agency data showed. A bag weighs 60 kilograms, or 132 pounds.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery rose 1.5 percent to 23.08 cents a pound on ICE. The price, down 1.4 percent this week, has dropped 28 percent in 2011.

Cocoa futures for March delivery fell 2.3 percent to $2,101 a metric ton. The commodity, up 1.6 percent this week, has slumped 31 percent in 2011.

In London futures trading, robusta coffee and cocoa dropped, while refined sugar climbed.

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