By Julie Wernau

Sugar and coffee futures sold off Thursday as turmoil in Brazilian markets pushed down the value of the real.

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee and sweetener in the world, and when the real loses ground against the dollar, it encourages sales of dollar-denominated goods so producers can recoup more of their local currency from sales.

Raw sugar for July lost 1.6% to 16.06 cents a pound, and arabica coffee for July fell 2.9% to $1.306 on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange.

According to data from FactSet, the real was as low as 0.298632, down 7.21%. This would be the largest intraday drop since October 8, 2008, when it dropped as much as 7.80%.

"The main trigger seems to have concerns of the political situation in Brazil, where new corruption claims have arisen and this time potentially implicating President [Michel] Temer over 'hush money' claims," Agrilion Commodity Advisers said.

A seasonal pattern in coffee this time of year helped boost futures Wednesday, along with a weakening dollar. May is known for rallies over frost concerns in Brazil and the potential for heavy rains.

In other markets, July cocoa rose 1.5% to $2,084 a ton, frozen concentrated orange juice for July lost 0.5% to $1.4125 a pound, and July cotton was off 0.7% at 79.58 cents a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2017 13:05 ET (17:05 GMT)

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