COMMODITIES

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The Independent Online
Coffee prices soared nearly 15 per cent in New York last week as traders and roasters worried that plunging stockpiles could leave them short of coffee in coming months. With coffee beans twice as expensive as a year ago, roasters such as Procter & Gamble, retailers such as Wittards, and coffee-bar operators are now passing on the rising price of beans from Latin America. Rain damaged crops in Colombia and Central America earlier this year, sending coffee prices to their highest level since 1994 when a frost damaged the crop from Brazil, the world's largest producer.

SOYBEAN futures jumped 2.8 per cent amid concern that reserves will fall dangerously low before next year's harvest. The US Department of Agriculture forecasts soybean stockpiles at 125 million bushels by the end of August, which is about a 10-day supply.

COCOA plunged 6.5 per cent last week amid mounting speculation that the Ivory Coast's crop, the world's largest, will exceed expectations this year. GNI Ltd., a London commodity trading company, said the country could harvest 1.16 million tons of cocoa this year, instead of the 900,000 tons it predicted earlier.

WHEAT futures fell 3.5 per cent last week as rain reached parched farmers' fields across northern Europe. April was a dry month in the region, which is collectively the world's largest exporter. Southern Britain had between 10 and 25 per cent of its normal rainfall last month, while rainfall in France was between 10 and 50 per cent of its normal level. Farmers will probably be among the few people pleased by the weather this holiday weekend, for which more showers have been forecast.

Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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