June 26th, 2012

Cocoa futures climbed the most in three weeks on speculation that wet weather will increase the risk of crop disease in Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer. Sugar and coffee also advanced.

Most areas of Ivory Coast will get at least 75 millimeters (3 inches) of rain through July 3, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some regions in the north will get as much as 150 millimeters, data on the NOAA website showed today. Heavy rains raised the prospect of poor bean quality and the fungal disease known as black pod, said Drew Geraghty, a broker at ICAP Futures LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“The heavy rains are making people nervous about supplies,” Sterling Smith, a commodity analyst at Citigroup Inc.’s institutional client group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Cocoa futures for September delivery gained 2.5 percent to $2,154 a metric ton at 11:42 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, heading for the biggest increase since June 5.

An outbreak of the leaf-eating canker worm in west Nigeria, the fourth-biggest producer, is also supporting prices, Smith said.

Black pod is a fungus that causes rotting of pods, according to the International Cocoa Organization.

Sugar futures raw for October delivery rose 1.4 percent to 20.21 cents a pound in New York.

Coffee futures arabica for September delivery jumped 3.7 percent to $1.6465 a pound on ICE, after reaching $1.657, the highest for a most-active contract since May 30.

In London futures trading, cocoa, refined sugar and robusta coffee also advanced on NYSE Liffe.

To contact the reporters on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net; Marvin G. Perez in New York at mperez71@bloomberg.net

- Steve Stroth at Bloomberg.