(Updates with closing prices and comments)
NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) –
Raw sugar futures on ICE closed higher on Wednesday, underpinned by disruptions to the cane harvest in Centre-South Brazil caused by recent rains, while arabica coffee prices eased.
* March raw sugar settled up 0.09 cents, or 0.5%, at 19.48 cents per lb.
* Most mills in Brazil’s main center-south sugarcane region are ending cane crushing for the season, leaving millions of tonnes of cane in the fields to be harvested next year, as rains make harvesting operations difficult and inefficient.
* Dealers said that despite the problems for current harvesting, Brazil rains will be beneficial for next year’s crop.
* Lower gasoline prices in Brazil helped to limit gains, potentially boosting the use of cane to produce sugar rather than biofuel ethanol.
* March white sugar rose $2.20, or 0.4%, at $537.10 a tonne.
* March arabica coffee settled down 3.3 cents, or 2.0%, at $1.602 per lb.
* Dealers said the continued rise in exchange stocks of arabica coffee remained a bearish influence.
ICE certified coffee stocks
rose to 658,890 bags on Dec. 7, well above a 23-year low of 382,695 bags set on Nov. 3. There were 404,597 bags pending grading.
* January robusta coffee rose $2, or 0.1%, at $1,918 a tonne.
* The market was keeping a close watch on harvest progress in top robusta producer Vietnam with rains leading to some quality concerns.
* March New York cocoa rose $5, or 0.2%, to $2,492 a tonne.
* Environmental and social problems in global cocoa supply chains are likely to continue unless companies pay farmers substantially more for their beans, according to a major report on cocoa sustainability published on Wednesday.
* March London cocoa settled up 7 pounds, or 0.4%, to 1,955 pounds per tonne. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and Nigel Hunt; Editing by Jason Neely and Maju Samuel)