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Weekly ICE Sugar: Ends Mixed On Near-Term Supply Views, 2019-20 Deficit Expectations

15 Sep 2019 7:27 pm
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MUMBAI – Sugar prices on the Intercontinental Exchange ended mixed last week amid expectations of huge deliveries against expiry of contracts on one hand and views that supplies may get tighter going ahead in 2019-20 on the other.

The most tracked, Sugar no 11 or the October contract ended down 1.2% at 10.89 cents, while the London December white sugar ended up 2.4% at $316.90 a tonne. Volumes in the sugar no 11 rose to 132,035 compared with 85,498 a week ago. Volumes in Sugar no 5 stood at 13,479 compared with 13,163 a week ago.

Sugar prices started on a bearish note this week amid an overhang of supply expectations going into the expiry of the London October contract on Friday and the New York October contract by the end of the month.

Later during the week, the London contract seemed to have priced in the expiry and moved higher, even as the New York contract remained subdued.

Earlier this week, data released by the Brazilian sugar industry association UNICA showed that sugar production in the second half of August increased by 5.5% on year to 2.5 million tonnes. However, cumulative sugar production until August for the season was down 4.8% to around 18.0 million tonnes.

Prices received some support from the cumulative sugar output number which seemed to suggest tighter supplies going ahead.

UNICA also said Brazil’s centre-south sugar production in 2019-20 could fall by 5.7% to a 14-year low of 25 million tonnes due to increased ethanol output in Brazil.

The London contract also remained firm following Rabobank’s estimates that pegged sugar output from the European Union in 2019-20 to fall by 2.8% to 17.5 million tonnes. Rabobank also revised its global 2019-20 sugar deficit estimate higher to 5.2 million tonnes from 4.2 million tonnes estimated earlier.

The fall in crude oil prices added to the weakness in the New York contract. The WTI October contract fell nearly 3% during the week to $54.85 per barrel.

By the end of the week, the raw sugar and the white sugar contracts gained amid views that the deliveries against expiry of contracts may be smaller-than-expected spurring short covering.

The latest CFTC data showed that managed money traders’ net short positions widened to a record 213,494 as on the week ended September 10, adding 24,395 net short positions on week. Open interest for the week stood at 1,23,045, down 5,491 on week.

For next week, the New York raw sugar contract could trade with a weaker bias until the expiry of the October contract takes place.

There could be some support from crude oil prices, which are seen rising this week following the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields. The attacks have forced Saudi Arabia to cut its production by half. Monday, crude prices are seen rising $5-$10 a barrel.

The October contract is seen moving in the 10.75-11.01 cents range, with support around 10.60-10.75 cent levels.

(Commoditiescontrol Bureau)

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