Cocoa Nears Four-Month Low as Crop Markets Slide on Virus Worry
(Bloomberg) -- Soft commodities from cocoa to cotton slipped and Paris wheat futures fell as worries about a new coronavirus variant fueled a selloff across financial markets.
Most commodities were under pressure on fears the variant identified in South Africa could hurt the global economic recovery. Cocoa fell as much as 3.1% in New York -- nearing a four-month low -- as U.S. markets reopened after the Thanksgiving holiday. Arabica coffee pulled back from a decade high and cotton dropped too.
In grains, French wheat fell from near a record, while Chicago futures will resume trading later Friday.
“The markets are suffering from a big bout of risk aversion,” said Michael McDougall, managing director at brokerage Paragon Global Markets in New York.
Cocoa was last down 2.9% at $2,440 a ton. Prices have been pressured by favorable rains that have boosted optimism for a large crop in top grower West Africa. Looking further forward, continued demand should lift cocoa prices, Fitch Solutions said in a report.
In other soft commodities, arabica coffee dropped 1.5% to $2.465 a pound, raw sugar retreated 1.8% and cotton dropped as much as 3.7%. Researcher Cotlook cut its deficit estimate for the 2021-22 season on bigger production in West Africa and Turkey.
Wheat prices rallied recently on concerns that weather threats to Australia’s harvest may exacerbate a global shortage as consumption remains strong. The threat posed by the latest Covid-19 variant has caused fears about grains demand next year, farm adviser Agritel said.
Milling wheat was down 2.3% at 301.75 euros ($340) a ton in Paris, trimming a weekly advance.
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