Arabica coffee futures fell last week, settling at a four-month low on speculative sales, pressure from the harvest from Brazil and mounting concern in Europe over the possibility of a Greek default.
Sugar futures were steady, boosted by low yields and a slow start to the harvest in Brazil, the top sugar and coffee producer, port congestion in Brazil and Thailand, as well as cash buying from Muslim countries before Ramadan.
New York's September arabica futures declined 8.65 cents, or 3.3 per cent, to close Friday at $2.525 per pound, the weakest close for the second position coffee contract since February 8.
London's September robusta contract dropped $80 (Dh293.6) to close at $2,342 per tonne, having hit a session low at $2,336, the lowest level traded since April.
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"It's just having a horrid time generating upside [momentum]," said Country Hedging Inc analyst Sterling Smith.
A close in September arabicas below $2.60 to $2.58 may lead to "more legs lower" in coffee in the days ahead, he said.
Arabicas tumbled to their lowest since February 9, hitting a wave of sell-stops below $2.60 in the September contract.
"We ran into a lot of stops after we got beneath $2.60. We actually had people reversing in the coffee," said Hector Galvan, senior market strategist for brokerage RJO Futures.
Arabicas are still a bull market, despite falling about 16 per cent from the 34-year peak reached six weeks ago, but are pulling back to levels viewed as more justified, Galvan said.
Fundamentally, a shortage of high quality beans, partly due to problems in key supplier Colombia where there's been several consecutive below-par harvests, should be price supportive.
Speculators raised their net long position by 1,222 lots to 2,465 lots in the week ending June 14, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed late on Friday.
"We're still constructive coffee because of the low stocks, the fundamentals are still good," said Jeremy Gatto, head of trading at commodities hedge fund Tiberius Asset Management.
"Given the current situation of low stocks and tight availability in Colombia we might have some further upside."
Brazil is in the early stages of its harvest and dealers said the fresh supplies were weighing on prices.
"Once the Brazil exports peak, roasters may find themselves still short of coffee, with new supplies not likely until much later in the year," Macquarie Bank said in a commodities note.
Sugar futures edged higher, underpinned by uncertainty about the size of Brazil's cane crush, port congestion and the steady pace of cash buying in the market.
"A slow start to the Brazil harvest coupled with logistical delays at Thai ports is supporting prices," Barclays Capital said of sugar in a market note on Friday.
Speculators boosted their net long position in ICE sugar to a two-month high at 76,572 lots, CFTC data showed.
London's August white sugar futures went up $22.20, or 3.1 per cent, to close near a three-month top at $727.60 per tonne. New York's July raw sugar contract climbed 0.45 cent to close at 26.37 cents per lb, the highest settlement since April 6.
Analyst Datagro said on Thursday that dry weather was trimming sugar output in Brazil and lowered its forecast for the center-south cane crush to 536 million tonnes from 561 million.
Smith said sugar is holding its own but the longer-term outlook is weighed down by the prospect that bumper supplies are likely in the second half of 2011.
"We think there's enough sugar and the Brazil harvest should speed up," Gatto said.