Softs

Softs this morning are mixed with Mar sugar -0.01 (-0.07%), Mar coffee +0.10 (+0.08%), Mar cocoa +8 (+0.41%), Mar cotton +1.02 (+1.23%). Softs on Thursday settled mixed: Mar sugar -0.47 (-3.21%), Mar coffee -1.15 (-0.93%), Mar cocoa -13 (-0.67%), Mar cotton +3.00 (+3.77%). Mar sugar on Thursday dropped to a 3-week low as expectations for robust global supplies spurs fund selling. Researcher Green Pool Commodity Specialists recently raised their 2017/18 global sugar surplus estimate to 10.4 MMT from an Oct estimate of 9.8 MMT. Data from Unica shows sugar production in the crop year through mid-Dec in Brazil's Center-South region was up +1.45% y/y at 35.586 MMT, and that the percent of sugar use for ethanol production fell to 53.01% from 53.31% last year, which adds to sugar supplies. ISO projects a global 2017/18 sugar surplus of +5.03 MMT following the global 2016/17 deficit of -6.465 MMT. India projects that its 2017/18 sugar crop will increase by +23% y/y to 25 MMT, the first gain in 3 years. The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on Nov 17 raised its 2017/18 global sugar surplus estimate to 10.73 MMT from a May forecast of 8.07 MMT and raised its global 2017/18 sugar production estimate to 184.95 MMT from a May view of 179.64 MMT.

Mar coffee prices on Thursday fell to a fresh 2-week low on signs of robust coffee supplies after ICE-monitored coffee inventories rose to a 2-1/4 year high Wednesday of 1.999 mln bags. Also, the ICO projects global 2017/18 coffee production will climb +0.7% y/y to a record 158.8 mln bags. Losses were limited after the Brazilian real rose to a 1-week high against the dollar, which reduces incentive for Brazil's coffee producers to boost exports with the stronger real. Also, ICO data showed global coffee exports Sep-Oct of 17.62 mln bags are down -11% y/y. Abundant global supplies had fueled fund selling and pushed Mar coffee prices down to a contract low on Dec 12. ICO data shows global 2016/17 arabica coffee exports up by +5.4% y/y to 76.23 mln bags. Also, the ICO recently revised up its global 2016/17 coffee ending stocks estimate to a surplus of 2.38 mln bags, the first surplus in 3 years. The Green Coffee Association reported that U.S. Nov coffee inventories rose +8.7% y/y to 6.737 mln bags. Brazil's 2016/17 coffee output according to Confab may fall -12.5% to 44.97 mln bags from 51.4 mln bags in 2016 since crops are in their lower-yielding half of their 2-year cycle. The USDA on Dec 15 projected that global 2017/18 coffee ending stocks will fall -8.6% to a 5-year low of 29.3 mln bags.

Mar cocoa prices on Thursday retreated from a 5-week high and closed lower on ample supplies after Ivory Coast farmers delivered 970,000 MT of cocoa beans to Ivory Coast ports from Oct 1-Jan 7, up +17.2% y/y. Also, Ghana cocoa purchases, a sign of output in Ghana the world's second-largest cocoa producer, were 435,307 MT Oct 13-Dec 28. Mar cocoa had posted that 5-week high on speculation this Monday's data from the European Cocoa Association will show the European Q4 cocoa grind jumped +3.4% y/ to 349,936 MT, the highest for a Q4 since 2009. The long-term trend for cocoa prices remains negative, however, as Mar cocoa on Dec 22 posted a contract low as signs of abundant supplies spurred fund selling of cocoa futures. The Ivory Coast on Dec 21 boosted its 2017/18 main cocoa crop forecast to 1.40 MMT to 1.45 MMT from a prior forecast of 1.35 MMT. Also, the ICCO recently hiked its 2016/17 global cocoa production estimate to a record 4.73 MMT from a prior estimate of 4.70 MMT, which will result in a 6-year-high global 2016/17 surplus of +335,000 MT. Mar cocoa rallied to a 9-1/4 month high Nov 10 signs of stronger global chocolate demand after Barry Callebaut reported a +9.2% increase in volume in the three months through Aug. Current cocoa output appears robust after Ghana said its 2016/17 cocoa production rose +25% y/y to 969,438 MT, a 6-year high. Cocoa demand is generally strong with Q3 Asia cocoa grindings up +13% y/y to 167,737 MT, European Q3 cocoa grindings up +3% y/y to 353,544 MT, and Q3 North American cocoa grindings up +0.7% y/y to 125,263 MT. The Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa producer, reported cocoa purchases, a sign of production, rose to 2.015 MMT from Oct-Sep 24, up +29% y/y and a record high.

Mar cotton on Thursday raced up to a 7-3/4 month nearest-futures high and closed limit-up as strength in foreign demand for U.S. cotton fueled fund buying of cotton futures. Thursday's weekly USDA Export Sales data showed 367.4 running bales of upland cotton sold the week of Jan 4, up +28% from the prior week. Cotton prices have trended higher over the past 2-months on increased foreign demand for U.S. cotton. Chinese cotton demand has been robust as China's Nov cotton imports rose +31.5% y/y to 72.2 MMT and its Jan-Nov cotton imports are up +40.0% y/y to 1.055 MMT. Also, Cotlook cut its global 2017/18 cotton surplus estimate to 258,000 MT from a Nov estimate of 789,000 MT. The Pakistan Textile Mills Association on Dec 6 said Pakistan may need to import 2.5 mln bales of cotton in 2018. Recent foods in Pakistan, the world's fourth-largest cotton producer, may reduce its cotton crop and prompt it to import as much as 1 mln bales this year, according to researcher Rose Commodity Group. In addition, the USDA in the Dec 12 WASDE report unexpectedly raised its U.S. 2017/18 cotton export estimate to 14.8 mln bales from 14.5 mln bales. The USDA projects global 2017/18 cotton use will climb to 119.59 mln bales, the most since 2009. On the negative side, the Cotton Advisory Board recently predicted 2017/18 cotton production in India, the world's biggest cotton producer, will climb +9.3% y/y to a 3-year high of 37.7 mln bales.