Sugar Futures Fall to Lowest Since August 2010; Cotton Advances

Sugar futures tumbled to a 30-month low on signs that cane crops are getting enough moisture to boost harvests in Brazil, the world’s largest grower. Cocoa and coffee also fell, while cotton and orange juice gained.

Despite the drier-than-average weather since December, soil-moisture levels at 80 percent of the average for this time of year are sufficient for the crop in Center-South Brazil, the country’s biggest producing region, Macquarie Group Ltd. said in a report yesterday. The cane crop in that area may be at least 580 million metric tons in the 2013-2014 season beginning in April, Macquarie said. That compares with 532 million a year earlier, according to Unica, a Sao Paulo-based industry group.

“Beneficial weather here will help boost world supplies,” Kona Haque, an analyst at London-based Macquarie, said in the e-mailed report. “So far, weather indications look promising.”

Raw sugar for May delivery slumped 2.4 percent to settle at 17.77 cents a pound at 2:30 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, capping the biggest decline since Jan. 3. Earlier, the price touched 17.76 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since August 2010. Sugar’s 8.9 percent drop this year is the biggest among 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge.

Also in New York, cocoa futures for delivery in May fell 0.6 percent to $2,156 a ton on speculation that Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, may still have a lot of its crop to sell. Ivory Coast is lagging behind with sales of its current crop, according to Macquarie.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery slid 0.6 percent to $1.4075 a pound on ICE.

Export Sales

Cotton futures for May delivery added 0.7 percent to 82.79 cents a pound in New York.

In the week ended Feb. 7, export sales of upland cotton from the U.S., the world’s top shipper, climbed 98 percent from a week earlier, with purchases led by China, the biggest consumer, the Department of Agriculture said today in a report. That was the first weekly advance since Jan. 10.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery rose 1 percent to $1.31 a pound on ICE. The price reached $1.311, the highest since Dec. 28.

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