* Macro fears rekindled by Spain's budget issues
* Sugar weighed by potential further Indian exports
* Cocoa dips ahead of North American grindings release
By Rene Pastor and Naomi O'Leary
NEW YORK/LONDON, April 18 Raw sugar futures
finished on Wednesday at their lowest in almost a year and most
of the soft markets weakened as the euro zone debt crisis crept
back into the markets.
The sweetener also was pressured by news that India is
likely to consider more sugar exports soon as it is set to
produce a surplus for a third straight year in the 12 months
from Oct. 1, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said.
U.S. stocks fell as worries over Spain's budget problems
reignited fears the debt crisis could again undermine financial
"I think watching the situation in Spain will be a key for a
lot of these commodities," said Country Hedging Inc analyst
Sterling Smith, adding a strengthening of the dollar on
safe-haven buying would undermine dollar-denominated
May raw sugar futures on ICE dropped 0.68 cent or
almost 3 percent to finish at 22.34 cents per lb, the lowest
settlement for the spot contract in almost a year, said Thomson
Benchmark London August white sugar futures fell
$10.10 or 1.7 percent to conclude at $586.90 per tonne.
More Indian exports would serve to bloat supplies and nudge
the markets lower.
"The market is still nervous because nobody is sure whether
Indian sugar will be delivered and this morning the food
minister said they may be releasing more sugars. All this is
unnerving anyone who's at all bullish," one dealer said.
"India is of course now a major net exporter and is expected
to sell a record amount this year," Nick Penney of brokers
Sucden Financial said in a market note.
COCOA ENDS LOWER, COFFEE CLOSES FIRM
Cocoa futures finish lower.
U.S. bean values fell for the first time after five straight
days of gains, due to strong resistance from the 100-day moving
average around $2,286 per tonne, basis July, and to pressure
from the weak commodity complex.
"This one's a bit more technical than anything else. People
just started taking money out of here," said Hector Galvan,
senior market strategist for RJO Futures in Chicago.
"Right now it's just watching the outside markets to see
what kind of direction it should take," Galvan said. "We were
unable to get above that next hurdle. I think people are just
squaring some positions here, taking some money out."
July cocoa on ICE declined $24, or 1.05 percent, to
end at $2,257 per tonne. July cocoa futures on Liffe
fell 7 pounds to finish at 1,479 pounds a tonne.
Dealers said North American grind figures, expected on
Thursday, would provide a short-term focus.
Macquarie analyst Kona Haque said global demand for cocoa
was likely to slow this year, reflecting a weaker economic
outlook, but that emerging market demand growth would prevent a
Arabica coffee prices saw another choppy session, hovering
just above Tuesday's 18-month low in a narrow trading range.
"It's just following the trend lower," Galvan said.
held steady just above an 18-month low set earlier in the week.
July arabicas on ICE rose 0.30 cent to finish at
$1.75 per lb, trading just above Monday's 18-month low, basis
second month, of $1.7390.
Benchmark Liffe July robusta coffee futures gained
$15 to close at $2,029 per tonne.