By David Hodari
LONDON--A roundup of key agriculture commodities markets for the week of Feb. 11-15, by WSJ/Dow Jones Newswires commodities reporters in London.
GRAINS & OILSEEDS
Wheat futures were last down 0.8% at $5.13 a bushel; corn futures were last down 0.47% at $3.73 a bushel; and soybean futures were last down 0.9% at $9.07 a bushel.
Prices in each commodity have slipped over the past week, all accelerating downward after the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Wheat took the biggest hit, with the WASDE revising up its forecast for Russian wheat production.
Still market observers are broadly optimistic about the grain, with Rabobank "bullish" on wheat, citing lower-than-expected winter wheat seedlings.
The bank said in a note that it was "neutral" on corn and soybeans, following the WASDE.
Capital Economics went further, saying "we think that, in many cases, stocks will start to be drawn down in 2019, which should give a lift to prices."
London cocoa futures were up 1.13% at GBP1,705 a metric ton and New York futures were up 1% at $2,257 a ton.
While arrivals at Ivorian ports remain strong, London futures have pushed 4% higher in the past week, with "panic-buying in the market" as it moves towards a switch in futures contracts according to one Europe-based trader.
"A few people have been caught short in the spreads and some people are expecting a repeat of the December-March experience where March traded at a discount," he said.
The trader said he expected little impact in the cocoa market from a prospective resumption of a U.S. government shutdown--market participants will just use London as a guide instead.
Arabica futures were last down 2.6% at $1 a pound and robusta futures were last down 1% at $1,515 a metric ton.
Futures in both bean varieties have slipped over the past week despite signals of tightening fundamentals. Rainfall in Brazil's biggest arabica coffee-growing region measured 55% of the historical average, and Vietnam's January coffee exports were down 19% on year, according to ED&F Man in a note. Still, warehouse stocks remain high and the Brazilian real has continued to weaken, both of which explain the fall, traders said.
Raw sugar futures were last down 0.6% at 12.63 U.S. cents a pound, having slipped 1.7% in the past week.
A fall in the Brazilian real also appeared to contribute toward falling sugar prices. That said, West Texas Intermediate oil futures are "under pressure relative to Brent as the U.S. emerges as the world's largest oil-and-gas producer," according to Thomas Kujawa, co-head of softs at Sucden Financial Research. That could prompt a rise in the amount of cane that is crushed as ethanol rather than sugar and support prices, though. In that light traders are waiting for further clues as to whether this will happen, Mr. Kujawa said.
Write to David Hodari at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 11, 2019 11:45 ET (16:45 GMT)
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