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Softs higher; Coffee climbs to 2-week high after Brazil aid measures

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. soft futures were higher on Thursday, with coffee prices climbing to a two-week high after Brazil announced measures to aid the country's struggling coffee farmers.

On the ICE Futures U.S. Exchange, Arabica coffee for September delivery traded at USD1.2173 a pound, up 1.1%. Prices rose a session high of USD1.2178 a pound earlier, the strongest level since July 30.

The September contract settled up 2.7% at USD1.2105 a pound on Wednesday after Brazil's government said it will buy Arabica coffee beans from local growers in order to remove excess supply from the market and combat falling prices.

President Dilma Rousseff said Wednesday that the purchases will be made through two programs.

In one, the government will offer growers options contracts to sell as many as three million 60-kilogram bags of coffee at USD1.4900 per bag.

In the other program, the government will buy coffee at a reference price of USD1.3307 per bag, starting immediately.

Coffee prices slumped to a four-year low of USD1.1547 a pound on August 1.

Brazil is the world's largest producer and exporter of Arabica coffee.

Meanwhile, sugar futures for October delivery traded at USD0.1681 a pound, up 0.1%. Prices of the sweetener held in a tight range between USD0.1677 a pound, the daily low and a session high of USD0.1684 a pound.

The October contract settled up 1.4% at USD0.1678 a pound on Wednesday.

Prices of the sweetener have been well-supported in recent sessions after Brazilian industry group Datagro said last week that freezing temperatures in part of Brazil's Center South-region caused significant losses to crops.

Brazil's center-south region accounts for nearly 90% of Brazil's sugarcane output.

The South American country is the world's largest sugar producer and exporter, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating the nation accounts for nearly 20% of global production and 39% of global sugar exports.

Elsewhere, cotton futures for December delivery traded at USD0.8871 a pound, up 0.4%. The December contract hit a session high of USD0.8896 a pound earlier, the strongest level since June 17.

The December contract settled up 3.1% at USD0.8833 a pound on Wednesday, underpinned by uncertainty over 2013-14 supplies in the U.S., the world's largest exporter. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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