Sugar traders extend longest bear streak since ‘07

Sugar Consumption

“The premium May raw-sugar futures command over July suggests that supplies are tight for now ahead of the start of the center south Brazil crop,” said Peter de Klerk, an analyst in London at Czarnikow Group Ltd., which traded sugar in more than 90 countries last year.

Sugar consumption rose every year since 1994, USDA data show. Demand will be a record 167.8 million tons this season, according to the International Sugar Organization, whose members include 86 countries. Declining prices and economic growth will drive buying, said Leonardo Bichara Rocha, a senior economist at the ISO in London. The International Monetary Fund anticipates a 3.3 percent expansion in the global economy this year.

Prices will average 22 cents this quarter and the next and 21 cents in the final three months of the year, 9.8 percent less than now, Deutsche Bank AG estimates. That compares with a five- year average of 18.6 cents, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Annual Advance

In other commodities, 19 of 26 traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect gold to gain next week. Futures on the Comex in New York increased 6.4 percent to $1,666.70 an ounce this year, set for a 12th consecutive annual advance.

Twelve of 28 traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect copper to gain next week and the same amount predicted a drop. The metal for delivery in three months, the London Metal Exchange’s benchmark contract, rose 5.6 percent to $8,025 a ton this year.

Thirteen of 30 people surveyed anticipate lower corn prices next week and five were neutral, while 17 of 31 said soybeans will slide. Corn slipped 2.6 percent to $6.295 a bushel this year as soybeans climbed 14 percent to $13.72 a bushel.

The S&P GSCI gauge of commodities fell to a two-month low this week after a Labor Department report showed U.S. employers added the fewest jobs in five months in March and on concern that Europe’s debt crisis may deepen. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao cut the nation’s economic growth target to 7.5 percent last month, the lowest since 2004.

“Chinese indicators continue to point towards a continued slowdown, even though the soft landing still looks like the most probable alternative,” said Filip Petersson, an analyst at SEB AB in Stockholm. “There could be some way left to fall.”

*T Gold survey results: Bullish: 19 Bearish: 6 Hold: 1
Copper survey results: Bullish: 12 Bearish: 12 Hold: 4
Corn survey results: Bullish: 12 Bearish: 13 Hold: 5
Soybean survey results: Bullish: 7 Bearish: 17 Hold: 7
Raw-sugar survey results: Bullish: 5 Bearish: 16 Hold: 1
White sugar survey results: Bullish: 6 Bearish: 15 Hold: 1
White sugar premium results: Widen: 5 Narrow: 6 Neutral: 1 *T

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