Softs
Softs this morning are mixed with Mar sugar -0.03 (-0.21%), Dec coffee +0.10 (+0.08%), Dec cocoa +2 (+0.10%), and Dec cotton +0.16 (+0.24%). Softs on Thursday closed lower: Mar sugar -0.02 (-0.14%), Dec coffee -0.45 (-0.35%), Dec cocoa -7 (-0.33%), Dec cotton -0.89 (-1.29%). Mar sugar on Thursday closed slightly lower as they followed losses in crude prices. Weak crude prices undercut ethanol prices and reduces incentive for Brazil's sugar mills to boost ethanol production. Sugar supplies remain abundant as Unica reported that Brazil 2017/18 Center-South sugar production through Sep was 29.235 MMT, up +4.85% y/y. Also, India projects that its 2017/18 sugar crop will increase by +23% y/y to 25 MMT, the first gain in 3 years. Nearest-futures (V17) fell to a 1-1/2 year low Jun 28 as signs of robust supplies hammered sugar prices. Researcher F.O. Licht cut its global 2016/17 sugar deficit estimate to -4.2 MMT from a prior estimate of -5.5 MMT and raised its 2017/18 global sugar surplus estimate to 4.6 MT from a May forecast of 2.7 MMT, due to an unexpected surge in Pakistan sugar production. In addition, ISO projects a global 2017/18 sugar surplus of 3 MMT from a 2016/17 deficit of -6.465 MMT. Researcher Wilmar predicts Thailand 2017/18 sugar production may climb to a record 12 MMT.

Dec coffee prices on Thursday closed lower on forecasted rains for Brazil's coffee-growing regions. Also, supplies are robust as ICE-monitored coffee inventories rose to a 1-3/4 year high of 1.846 million bags on Wednesday. Coffee prices had climbed to a 2-week high Tuesday on concern Brazil coffee yields will suffer after MDA Weather Services forecast drier-than-normal weather over the next 2-weeks for Brazil's coffee-growing areas. Dec coffee had slumped to a 3-1/4 month nearest-futures low last Thursday on ample supplies. Data from the Green Coffee Association showed U.S. Aug coffee inventories rose +17.2% y/y to 7.266 mln bags, just below the 23-1/3 year high of 7.413 mln bags from Jul. Also, ICO data shows Oct-Aug global coffee exports are up +5.8% y/y to 113.3 mln bags. Nearest-futures (U17) coffee on Aug 8 jumped to a 6-1/2 month high on Brazil coffee crop concerns after Somar Meteorolgia said rainfall had been well below normal in Brazil’s coffee-growing regions. Dec coffee on Jun 22 plunged to a contract low and nearest-futures (N17) sank to a 1-1/2 year low on signs of robust supplies. ICO also hiked its global 2016/17 coffee production estimate to a record 153.9 mln bags from a prior estimate of 151.6 mln bags. However, supplies may tighten up since Confab 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, Carafe predicts that Brazil 2017 coffee exports will fall -5.9% y/y to 32 million bags due to a lower-yielding coffee crop.

Dec cocoa prices on Thursday eked out a new 6-1/4 month nearest-futures high but gave up its advance on fund liquidation and closed lower. Signs of improved global demand are positive for cocoa prices after Wednesday's data from the European Cocoa Association showed European Q3 cocoa grindings rose +3% y/y to 353,544 MT, stronger than expectations of +2% y/y and the most for a Q3 in 6-years. Also, ICE-monitored cocoa inventories have trended lower over the past 3-months to a 6-3/4 month low Wednesday. Supplies are ample after 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. The Executive Director of the ICO recently said that the global cocoa surplus may persist for the next 4 to 5 years if cocoa production remains at current levels. In addition, Ghana, the world's second-biggest cocoa producer, reported its 2016/17 cocoa crop had risen to 953,865 MT as of Sep 28, a 6-year high. The ICCO last month raised its 2016/17 global cocoa production estimate to a record 4.7 MMT from 4.692 MMT in Jun, and lowered its global 2016/17 surplus estimate to +371,000 MT from a 382,000 MT estimate in Jun, still the biggest surplus in 6-years.

Dec cotton on Thursday fell to a 1-week low and closed lower after the USDA in Thursday's WASDE report raised its global 2017/18 cotton production estimate to 120.9 mln bales from 120.8 mln in Sep and cut its global 2017/18 cotton ending stocks estimate to 92.4 mln bales, higher than expectations of a cut to 92.0 mln bales. The USDA also cut its U.S. 2017/18 cotton export estimate to 14.5 mln bales, from 15.0 mln bales forecast in Sep. On the positive side, the USDA cut its U.S. 2017/18 cotton production estimate to 21.12 mln bales, a bigger cut than expectations of 21.2 mln bales. The pace of the U.S. cotton harvest has accelerated after Tuesday's USDA Crop Progress report showed 25% of the U.S. cotton crop harvested as of Oct 8, +6 points above the 5-year average of 19%. Strength in U.S. exports is drawing down U.S. cotton stockpiles, led by exceptional Chinese demand, as China Jan-Aug cotton imports are up +36% y/y to 811,800 MT. Dec cotton rallied to a contract high and nearest-futures (V17) cotton posted a 4-month high on Sep 8 on concerns that heavy rains from Hurricane Irma would damage U.S. cotton crops that had already seen huge rains from Hurricane Harvey.