SOFTS-Robusta coffee eases, Vietnamese supplies weigh

(Reuters) - Liffe robusta coffee futures edged lower on Friday, as steady exports from Vietnam weighed ahead of an expected second consecutive bumper crop.

Sugar futures were firm with Brazilian producer selling capping upside potential, while cocoa was also near unchanged.

COFFEE

* Robusta coffee prices eased as exports from top producer Vietnam remained strong, after a record crop in 2011/12 caught many traders by surprise, with harvest of another large crop underway.

* Vietnam exported an estimated 105,000 tonnes, or 1.75 million bags, of coffee this month, tripling the shipment in the same month last year and also above the actual loading in September, the government said on Friday.

* January robusta coffee futures were down $5 or 0.2 percent at $2,052 a tonne at 0844.

* Arabica coffee futures on ICE were steady, with December down 0.15 cent or 0.1 percent at $1.6085 per lb. The contract hit $1.5715 last week, the lowest level for the front month since Sept. 6.

* McDonald's Corp will start selling bags of its ground coffee in major Canadian stores in November, its Canadian chief told Reuters on Thursday, in a likely challenge to rivals such as Starbucks Corp, Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons Inc.

SUGAR

* March sugar futures were unchanged at 19.53 cents a lb, remaining near Wednesday's three-week low of 19.45 cents.

* Dealers noted Brazil producer selling into any price rises was likely to cap gains as harvest progressed in the top producer.

* December white sugar on Liffe was up $4.00 or 0.7 percent at $547.80 per tonne.

* Bunge Ltd shares jumped on Thursday as the agribusiness giant doubled quarterly profits by mobilizing its global grain network to supply customers hit by the worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years.

COCOA

* ICE December cocoa edged down $4 or 0.2 percent to $2,398 per tonne, as the market continued to monitor the first weeks of Ivory Coast's 2012/13 season after the introduction of a fixed farmer price.

* Extortion at illegal roadblocks has increased in Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions in recent months and threatens to undermine reforms aimed at improving farmer incomes, officials said on Thursday.

* Liffe March cocoa futures were off 8 pounds at 1,546 pounds per tonne.

* The European Union granted Ivory Coast 115 million euros ($149.04 million) in budget support on Thursday, aiming to help the West African nation back on its feet following a decade of political crisis that ended in a brief war last year.

* The Bank of Ghana has accepted 1.4 billion cedis ($747 million) in bids for its three-year bonds, with an average yield of 21 percent, Ghana's finance minister said on Thursday.

MARKETS

* European shares opened lower following a weak session in Asia as lacklustre earnings from tech giant Apple undermined confidence ahead of American growth data due later on Friday.

* Oil fell to around $108 a barrel and was heading for its second weekly drop, pressured by expectations U.S. economic growth will not be strong enough to bolster the demand outlook and by Europe's debt crisis.

* The yen recovered after hitting a four-month low against the dollar, but was still on track for a second week of losses as investors braced for the Bank of Japan to ease policy next week.


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