Louis Dreyfus seen taking huge ICE October sugar delivery


* ICE October raw sugar delivery estimated at 1.49 mlntonnes-traders

* Estimated delivery biggest on records dating back to 1989

* Brazil, Argentina, Central America seen delivering sugar

By Marcy Nicholson

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Global agribusiness groupLouis Dreyfus Commodities is expected tobe the sole receiver of the largest delivery against a New Yorkraw sugar contract in at least 24 years, three traders said onMonday.

The delivery was at the top end of the range predicted bytraders ahead of the expiry, reflecting abundant global suppliesand uncertainty about disruption in supplies as rains in Brazilhave hampered cane crushing in the world's No. 1 producer.

Louis Dreyfus was unable to provide immediate comment.

Traders expect a delivery against the ICE Futures U.S.October sugar contract of 29,344 lots, or 1.49 million tonnes.If confirmed on Tuesday morning, when the exchange will releasethe official delivery figure, this would be the biggest deliveryin at least 24 years, according to exchange data that goes backto 1989.

This is more than triple the average 453,000 tonnes in thepast five October deliveries, according to ICE data.

While Louis Dreyfus often sells raw sugar onto the board,this is the company's first purchase in at least a year.

It also comes just weeks after Louis Dreyfus CommoditiesSuisse SA bought all 313,150 tonnes of white sugar tenderedagainst the NYSE Liffe October contract.

"I frankly don't think the receiver has any homes for thedelivery," said one sugar dealer, referring to the large rawsugar delivery and echoing another dealer's bearish sentiment onthe large delivery.

"It could be rather painful for them as they will struggleto find homes in a market not awash with demand."

Other dealers, however, noted there could be a bullishimpact.

"One entity taking all is generally bullish," one dealersaid.

The October futures contract soared in thin dealingson its last day of trade, jumping 4.3 percent to a session highat 17.60 cents per lb before closing up 3.6 percent at 17.48cents. With open interest remaining unusually high the day aheadof expiration, the large delivery was much anticipated duringthe trading session.

"The market took it well. It rebounded," another dealersaid.

"Depending on this rain in Brazil, if it does rain and sugarproduction estimates go down, anybody who took delivery nowcould be sitting pretty."

Dealers said the sugar is coming from Brazil, Argentina,Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Last October, Bunge Ltd took the bulk of a deliveryof about 595,000 tonnes, or 11,710 lots, as rains increasedworries about potential supply disruptions.

The large delivery comes as the market continues to digest ahuge crop, even as rains and maintenance have hampered canecrushing in the world's top grower, Brazil. Raw sugar futures closed the third quarter up 6.7 percent, the spotcontract's best quarterly performance in nearly three years,after being locked in a bear market since early 2011.

Imperial Sugar, one of the largest U.S. refiners and ownedby Louis Dreyfus Corp, is one of three firms suing customers fordefaulting on contracts, in the latest sign that sinking pricesand a supply glut are roiling the U.S. industry.

With futures prices no longer at a steep discount toBrazil's cash market, delivering to the exchange was seen aspossibly more alluring for Brazil's huge output, traders said.

The delivery against the October contract is expected toeclipse the delivery against the May 2013 contract which totaled 1.43 million tonnes, or 28,222 lots, when Louis Dreyfus was oneof the deliverers.

In December 2012, Louis Dreyfus Corp's Brazilian sugar andethanol unit Biosev, said it was selling assets at its SaoCarlos plant to the Sao Martinho milling group for 200 millionreais (then $95.51 million).

View Comments