LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE hit 1-1/2 year lows on Wednesday, with equities and oil plunging as fears over the coronavirus pandemic eclipsed support measures rolled out by policymakers around the globe.
Arabica bucked the sell-off in financial markets, surging 11% at one point amid tight supplies.
* May raw sugar fell 0.06 cents, or 0.6%, to 10.83 cents per lb at 1250 GMT, having hit its lowest since September 2018 at 10.75.
* U.S. crude futures plumbed 18-year lows as travel and social lockdowns sparked by the coronavirus knocked the outlook for demand.
* A dealer said sugar fundamentals were of no real consequence at the moment, with traders lowering their risk appetite in futures and physical markets.
* Weaker energy prices have prompted expectations mills in Brazil will switch to using more cane to make sugar rather than biofuel ethanol.
* French sugar and ethanol company Tereos has decided to boost the production of pharmaceutical alcohol at five of its factories in France to meet a shortage of hydroalcoholic gel due to the fast-spreading coronavirus.
* Tereos’ French rival Cristal Union said on Tuesday it was suspending the production of bioethanol at the Arcis sur Aube distillery to redirect its production towards ethyl alcohol.
* Suedzucker, Europe’s largest sugar refiner, said on Wednesday sugar supplies are secure despite heavy demand as some European consumers stockpile during the coronavirus crisis.
* May white sugar fell $1.70, or 0.5%, to $336.80 a tonne, having hit its lowest since last November.
* May arabica coffee surged 9 cents, or 9%, to $1.1200 per lb. It was up 11% earlier at $1.1410, and is on track for its biggest one-day surge since February 2014.
* ICE certified stocks KC-TOT-TOT plunged by 14,733 60-kg bags on Tuesday alone. They now total 2.08 million bags, their lowest since mid-January.
* Soaring arabica premiums in the physical markets are deterring traders from delivering coffee to the exchange where it commands little, if any, mark-up.
* ICE Futures U.S. cannot ensure that the sampling of cocoa and arabica coffee can be completed in time for May 2020 contracts due to “developing conditions related to the coronavirus”.
* May robusta coffee rose $16 or 1.3% to $1,228 a tonne.
* May New York cocoa rose $23, or 1%, to $2,336 a tonne, having hit a six-month low of $2,249 on Tuesday.
* May cocoa may rise towards $2,425 per tonne as it has cleared resistance at $2,305, according to technical analyst Wang Tao.
* May London cocoa rose 23 pounds, or 1.3%, to 1,846 pounds per tonne. (Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Jan Harvey)