Coffee futures soar after a cold snap during the Brazilian harvest sets off supply worries

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coffee prices jump on cold snap in Brazil

Coffee prices jumped as much as 8 percent Friday after an early cold snap during Brazil’s harvest sparked a buying frenzy.

Traders concerned that the colder weather could damage at least part of the crop bought in heavy volumes early in the day before trading settled down, Lind-Waldock market strategist Tom Mikulski said.

It was still undetermined if the cooler weather would have any effect on what has been forecast as a bountiful crop, he added.

Coffee for July delivery rose 7.95 cents, or 5.8 percent, to settle at $1.4495 a pound after hitting $1.4850 a pound earlier in the day. It was the highest intraday price since January.

Metals and energy prices were mixed while corn, wheat and soybeans all settled higher.

Coffee prices have remained in a fairly narrow range for several weeks without apparent risks from weather or other factors in producing regions like Brazil.

Late last month, prices rose slightly after a tropical storm battered the Central American coffee growing regions. Mikulski said the extent of that damage hasn’t been determined yet.

Metals trading was mixed.

Gold prices rose slightly after early weakness in the stock market sent some investors toward safe-haven buying, HSBC analyst James Steel said.

Gold for August delivery rose $8 to settle at $1,230.20 an ounce.

Stocks were mixed Friday after the early slump on poor retail sales figures but didn’t fall enough to offset Thursday’s big rally.

July copper rose 4.15 cents to settle at $2.9040 a pound, its highest level in a week.

In other July contracts, platinum fell $1.20 to settle at $1,535 an ounce; palladium lost 55 cents to $448.25 an ounce and silver fell 12 cents to $18.231 an ounce.

Energy prices were mixed as traders sorted through mixed economic data. May retail sales came in well below analysts’ expectations Friday, while the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index said consumer confidence grew to its highest level since January 2008, well above forecasts.

Benchmark crude for July delivery dropped $1.70 to $73.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It ended the week higher than Monday’s settlement price of $71.51 a barrel.

In other July contracts, heating oil fell 2.75 cents to $2.0053 a gallon; gasoline fell 2.08 cents to $2.0497 a gallon; and natural gas rose 13.4 cents to $4.781 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grains prices all rose.

In July contracts, wheat added 7.5 cents to settle at $4.4075 a bushel. Corn gained 6.25 cents to $3.4950 a bushel and soybeans settled up 11.25 cents at $9.4625 a bushel.

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