Cotton, coffee and sugar all rally to end week

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2010 4:06 PM
Cotton, coffee and sugar all rally to end week

Cotton, coffee and sugar prices all rallied Friday over questions about available supply and growing demand for the trio of commodities.

After two days of declines, cotton resumed a rally that pushed prices to their highest level since the Civil War prevented shipments of the crop.

Spencer Patton, founder and chief investment officer for hedge fund Steel Vine Investments LLC, said poor weather continues to plague cotton's harvest season and could result in a limited supply of the crop this year. At the same time, global demand has surged, driving prices higher.

Cotton for December delivery rose 3.58 cents to $1.2526 a pound. Earlier this week it hit a high of $1.305 a pound before retreating slightly.

Coffee prices also rose Friday because of ongoing supply worries. But while concerns about cotton supply are weather-related, coffee supply concerns are purely logistical and thus likely temporary, Patton said.

Backups at ports in Brazil have kept coffee from being shipped overseas, which has helped its price. Coffee for December delivery rose 6.85 cents, or 3.5 percent, to settle at $2.0345 a pound.

The delay in coffee shipments is a result of exporters being busy shipping out sugar, which has again rallied to near 29-year highs. Sugar prices surged to highs at the beginning of the year over worries about supply before plummeting during the summer when those worries subsided.

Now more countries are looking to lock in sugar orders, sending sugar prices higher, as demand grows along with the global economy.

Sugar for March delivery rose 0.41 cents to settle at 29.12 cents per pound. Sugar prices have nearly doubled since May, but they are within a penny of the highs hit in late January.

Meanwhile, metals mostly continued their move higher. December gold rose $15.10 to settle at $1,357.60 an ounce, while silver jumped 68.9 cents to $24.564 an ounce. Copper was one of the few metals to fall, declining 5.4 cents to settle at $3.7335 a pound.

Oil prices continued to bounce around a tight trading range between $80 and $83 a barrel. Benchmark crude for December delivery fell 75 cents to $81.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices have been unable to break out of that range as supply remains high and demand is tepid. Traders are also waiting to see how big a bond-buying program the Federal Reserve could announce next week. That program could affect the dollar, which can help dictate commodity trading.

Commodities are priced in dollars. Any actions that would weaken the dollar like the bond-buying program should help drive investment demand in commodities.

In other energy trading on the Nymex, heating oil lost 2.34 cents to settle at $2.2201 a gallon. Gasoline dropped 0.94 cent to settle at $2.1045 per gallon. Natural gas gained 14.8 cents to settle at $4.038 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Elsewhere, grain and bean prices were mixed. Wheat for December delivery fell 1 cent to $7.1725 a bushel, while corn rose 52 cents to settle at $5.8200 a bushel. Soybeans for January delivery were unchanged at $12.36 a bushel.