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Sugar Futures Rise as Index Funds Rebalance; Coffee, Cocoa Drop

Sugar gained the most in more than a week on bets that investment funds that track commodity indexes will increase their holdings of the sweetener. Coffee, cocoa and cotton fell, while orange juice was steady.

Sugar has tumbled 17 percent in 2012, the biggest loss behind coffee and cotton among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index. Holdings will increase after “lackluster price performance,” Macquarie Group Ltd. said last month. Open interest may climb by as much as 30,000 contracts as the funds rebalance portfolios after index weightings shift in January, said Michael McDougall, a senior vice president at Newedge Group in New York.

“Speculative buying is providing the primary support,” Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There’s some adjusting going on related to index funds.”

Raw sugar for March delivery rose 2.1 percent to settle at 19.45 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest advance since Dec. 17.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $1.479 a pound on ICE, extending this year’s decline to 35 percent.

Also in New York, cocoa futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $2,255 a metric ton, while cotton futures for March delivery dropped 1.4 percent to 76.01 cents a pound.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery were unchanged at $1.318 a pound on ICE.

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