Softs

Softs this morning are mixed with May sugar -0.06 (-0.50%), May coffee -0.15 (-0.13%), May cocoa -11 (-0.41%), and May cotton +0.14 (+0.17%). Softs on Monday settled mixed: May sugar -0.10 (-0.83%), May coffee -3.05 (-2.60%), May cocoa +138 (+5.38%), May cotton -0.16 (-0.19%). May sugar on Monday closed lower. May sugar has trended lower over the past 5-weeks down to a 2-1/2 year nearest-futures low last Wednesday as signs of abundant supplies fueled fund selling. Unica reported Brazil's Center-South 2017/18 sugar output in the crop year through Mar rose +1.21% y/y to 36.059 MMT with the percent of sugar used for ethanol down to 53.54% from 53.71% last year. Also, the Brazilian real plunged to a 16-month low against the dollar last Tuesday, which provides incentive for Brazil's sugar producers to boost more-profitable exports with the weak real. Other bearish supply factors included (1) the forecast by the Thailand Office of Cane and Sugar Board for Thailand 2017/18 sugar production to rise to a record 12 MMT, and (2) the forecast by India's SMA that India's 2017/18 sugar production will rise to a record 29.5 MMT and that India may boost its sugar exports to a 4-year high of 2 MMT because of the record output. India also recently scrapped its 20% duty on sugar exports, which should spur an increase in its sugar exports. ISO projects a global 2017/18 sugar surplus of +5.03 MMT following the global 2016/17 deficit of -6.465 MMT. The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) on Nov 17 forecasted (1) a record 2017/18 global sugar surplus of 10.73 MMT, and (2) record global 2017/18 sugar production of 184.95 MMT.

May coffee prices slumped to a 9-3/4 month nearest futures low Monday as the outlook for abundant coffee supplies spurred fund selling of coffee futures. Safras on Thursday projected Brazil 2018/19 coffee production may jump +20% to a record 60.5 mln bags amid beneficial weather. Safras also hiked its Brazil 2017/18 coffee production estimate to 50.6 mln bags from a prior estimate of 50.45 mln bags. Current supplies are robust as ICE-monitored coffee inventories rose to a 2-1/2 month high Thursday of 1.957 mln bags and are just below Jan's 2-1/4 year high of 2.017 mln bags. Meanwhile, Vietnam said it expects its 2018 coffee exports to rise +9% y/y to 1.55 MMT. ICO projects that global 2017/18 coffee production will climb +0.8% y/y to a record 158.93 mln bags. On the supportive side, the USDA projects that global 2017/18 coffee ending stocks will fall -8.6% to a 5-year low of 29.3 mln bags, and U.S. Mar green coffee inventories fell -2.3% y/y to 6.567 mln bags.

May cocoa prices on Monday soared to a 17-month nearest-futures high on optimism about stronger cocoa demand amid tighter supplies. This week's data is expected to show European Q1 cocoa processing rose +3.4% to a 6-year high of 351,292 MT and North American Q1 cocoa processing rose +1.5% y/y to 121,954 MT. Also, Barry Callebaut, the world's top cocoa processor, reported global chocolate sales rose +2.5% y/y from Aug-Jan. Ivory Coast farmers delivered 1.517 MMT of cocoa beans to Ivory Coast ports during Oct 1-Apr 15, down -0.6% y/y. Cocoa prices have rallied sharply this year on dry weather in the Ivory Coast, which has received less than 75% of normal rainfall over the past month, according to Speedwell Weather. Cocoa purchases from the Cocoa Bard of Ghana, the world's second-biggest cocoa producer, have fallen -2.7% y/y to 642,451 MT from Oct 13-Mar 15. ICCO projects that 2017/18 global cocoa production will fall -2.3% y/y to 4.638 MMT and that the global cocoa surplus will fall to +105,000 MT from 2016/17's 6-year high surplus of 300,000 MT.

May cotton on Monday closed lower on forecasts for rains in Texas, which should boost soil moisture levels. Cotton rallied to a 1-month high Friday on bullish factors that included (1) projections from the China Cotton Association for 2018/19 cotton acreage in China, the world's biggest cotton grower, to fall -4% y/y to 2.8 mln hectares, (2) reduced trade tensions between the U.S. and China after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to open Chinese markets, and (3) last Tuesday's WASDE report where the USDA raised its U.S. 2017/18 cotton export estimate to a 12-year high of 15 mln bales from 14.98 mln bales estimated in Mar. On the negative side, the USDA cut its U.S. 2017/18 cotton ending stocks estimate to 5.3 mln bales, more than expectations of 5.1 mln bales, and raised its global 2017/18 cotton production estimate to a 5-year high of 122.18 mln bales, up from a Mar estimate of 121.9 mln bales. Cotton prices on Apr 4 plunged to a 1-3/4 month low on the Chinese proposal to slap 25% tariffs on U.S. cotton exports. Chinese cotton demand has already weakened with China Jan-Feb cotton imports down -6.9% at 236.4 MT. Cotton still has support from the drought in the Southern Plains. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that 28% of Texas (the biggest U.S. cotton-producing state) was in a severe-to-extreme drought as of Apr 10, up from 20% three months earlier. Cotton prices were undercut by the Mar 29 USDA Prospective Plantings forecast for 2018 U.S. cotton planted acreage of a 7-year high of 13.5 mln acres, more than expectations of 13.3 mln acres. Also, India, the world's second largest cotton producer, projects its 2017/18 cotton production will climb +9.8% y/y to a 3-year high of 37 mln bales. Cotton demand is a supportive factor as the USDA projects that global 2017/18 cotton use will climb to a 10-year high of 120.39 mln bales.