Softs this morning are mixed with May sugar +0.05 (+0.31%), May coffee +0.25 (+0.19%), Jul cocoa +27 (+1.50%), and May cotton -0.20 (-0.25%). Softs on Thursday settled mixed: May sugar -0.09 (-0.55%), May coffee -6.35 (-4.60%), Jul cocoa -74 (-3.95%), May cotton +2.40 (+3.09%). May sugar on Thursday closed lower but remained above Tuesday's 2-week low. May sugar fell to that 2-week low after India's National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories predicted 2017/18 sugar production in India, the world's second biggest producer, will climb +25% y/y to 25 MMT as normal rains last year helped the sugar crop. Current supplies are ample as data from Unica show that 35.628 MMT of sugar was produced in Brazil's Center South in the 2016/17 season through Mar, up +14.1% y/y. May sugar on Apr 5 fell to an 11-1/4 month nearest-futures low on signs of abundant current supplies and expectations for larger global output. Researcher Wilmar predicts Thailand 2017/18 sugar production may climb to a record 12 MMT. Supply concerns have eased after the ISO late last month lowered its global 2016/17 sugar deficit estimate to 5.87 MMT from a Nov estimate of 6.19 MMT. Sugar prices had posted a 4-year nearest-futures high (V16) on Sep 29 on supply concerns as the ISO projects a 2016/17 stocks-to-consumption ratio of 43.2%, the lowest in 6 years.
May coffee prices on Thursday plunged to a 3-3/4 month low as signs of ample supplies prompted fund selling. ICE-monitored coffee inventories on Tuesday rose to 1.411 mln bags, a 1-year high, while data from the Green Coffee Association showed U.S. Mar coffee inventories rose +11.5% y/y to a 23-year high of 6.725 mln bags. Also, ICO data showed global coffee exports from Oct-Feb jumped +6.7% y/y to 49.52 mln bags. In addition, Columbia reported its Feb coffee exports rose +7% y/y to 1.19 mln bags. May coffee on Tuesday had risen to a 2-week high on Brazil crop concerns after Somar Meteorologia said rains over the past week in Brazil's biggest arabica growing region were only 21% of the historical average. Nearest-futures (Z16) coffee on Nov 15 had surged to a 2-year high on supply concerns. Conab said it sees Brazil's 2017 coffee output falling as much as 15% to 43.7 mln bags from 51.4 mln bags in 2016 as crops are in their lower-yielding half of their 2-year cycle. Also, Cecafe predicts that Brazil 2017 coffee exports will fall -5.9% y/y to 32 million bags due to a lower-yielding coffee crop.
Jul cocoa prices on Thursday sold-off to a new contract low and nearest-futures (K17) plunged to a 9-1/2 year low. Fund selling continues to pummel cocoa prices on signs of robust supplies amid weak demand. Ivory Coast farmers sent 1.526 MMT of cocoa beans to ports from Oct 1-Apr 16, up +18% y/y, while ICE-monitored cocoa supplies on Monday rose to a 2-3/4 year high of 5.102 mln bags. Also, data from IRI shows U.S. Mar chocolate candy sales tumbled -29.8% y/y. The ICCO projects a +14.8% y/y increase in 2016/17 global cocoa production to 4.552 MMT with a +264,000 MT surplus, the biggest in 6-yrs. ICCO projects Ivory Coast 2016/17 cocoa output to jump +20% y/y to a record 1.9 MMT and Ghana cocoa output to climb +4% to 850,000 MT. Demand is weak as data from the National Confectioners Association reported that North America Q4 cocoa grindings unexpectedly fell -1.1% y/y to 117,588 MT, weaker than expectations of an increase of +1.7% y/y and the lowest for a Q4 in 6 years. On the positive side, Q1 European cocoa processing rose +1.1% to 339,485 MT, close to expectations, and Q4 Asian cocoa processing jumped +16.9% y/y to 188,493 MT. Also, the ICCO predicts the 2015/16 global cocoa stockpiles-to-grindings ratio may fall to a 31-year low of 34.9%.
May cotton on Thursday surged to a 2-3/4 year nearest-futures high on fund buying spurred on by concern that heavy rains that have flooded fields in the U.S. South will delay U.S. cotton plantings. Also, foreign demand for U.S. cotton is strong as USDA export data shows U.S. cumulative cotton exports this marketing year through Apr 13 up +77.2% y/y. The USDA on Apr 11 cut its U.S. 2016/17 cotton ending stocks estimate to 3.7 million bales, a bigger cut than expectations of 4.1 mln bales, as they raised their U.S. 2016/17 cotton export estimate to 14.0 mln bales, a 6-year high. The China Cotton Association reported that Chine Feb cotton imports rose +146% y/y as imports from the U.S. surged +444% y/y at 64,800 MT. Chinese cotton demand had been weak as Chinese customs data showed China 2016 cotton imports sank -39% y/y to 896,600 MT.