By Carolyn Cui
Soft commodities fell across the board Monday as the U.S. dollar continued its upward march against currencies of major producers, triggering liquidation selling from speculators in those markets.
Cocoa for March delivery fell 1.9% to $2,424 per metric ton, while arabica coffee for December dropped 0.5% to $1.5865 a pound. Frozen concentrated orange juice for January was down 0.5% to $2.1100 a pound, while raw sugar for March delivery was 0.3% lower at 21.63 cents a pound. December cotton futures edged down by 0.3% to 68.27 cents a pound.
The strong rally in the dollar was the "principal" factor behind the price declines in soft commodities, said Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group. Commodities are priced in U.S. currency, and a stronger dollar would allow exporters in producing countries to recoup more of their local currency for sales. Therefore, buyers of the commodities would ask the sellers to lower their prices.
The U.S. Dollar index added 1.1% Monday to 100.12, the highest intra-day level since December 2015.
On the other side, the Brazilian real was 2% weaker against the dollar in recent trade, bringing its total loss to 8.5% since the outcome of the U.S. presidential election last Tuesday. Brazil is the world's largest producer of orange juice, sugar and coffee. Other commodity currencies also fell on concerns that possibly protectionist policies under President-elect Donald Trump could hurt trade, with the Colombian peso down 0.6% and the Indian rupee 0.5% lower, despite repeated attempts by central banks to prop up the currencies.
The recent bout of currency volatility hit soft commodities at a time when speculators were swarming into these markets with ideas that years of low prices and reduced supplies would finally send these markets into a global deficit.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is scheduled to release the latest Commitments of Traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Monday, which will provide market participants with a glimpse of the speculator positions leading up to the surprise U.S. election results.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 14, 2016 11:42 ET (16:42 GMT)
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