LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE hit their highest in almost six years on Wednesday as continued signs of near-term supply tightness prompted speculators to buy and deterred physical traders from selling.
* March raw sugar SBc1 was up 0.6% at $20.70 cents per lb by 1611 GMT after touching the highest level since February 2017 at 20.99 cents.
* Dealers said speculative funds are increasing their long position while the trade is very cautious about selling, leaving little to stop the market from climbing.
* Fundamentals are increasingly pointing to more production next year, they said, but the market does not seem to believe this will ease the near-term tightness.
* This tightness can be seen in the premium for front-month March futures over May SB-1=R, which climbed to 1.42 cents per lb on Tuesday, having hit its highest in a decade last week.
* Delays to harvests in Thailand, Australia and Central America have helped to tighten supplies while rain has meant some cane in Brazil will not be cut until next season.
* In bearish news, dozens of merchant ships carrying grains and sugar are stuck outside Iranian ports as payments snags disrupt flows of goods into the country.
* March white sugar LSUc1 was flat at $564.30 a tonne, having hit its highest since mid November at $574.
* March arabica coffee KCc1 rose 0.7% to $1.6880 per lb.
* The strengthening of Brazil's real currency against the dollar BRL= is underpinning arabica prices.
* World coffee production is forecast to rebound in 2022/23, primarily because of a larger crop in Brazil, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
* March robusta coffee LRCc2 rose 0.6% to $1,880 a tonne, having hit its lowest since Dec. 6 on Tuesday at $1,851.
* March London cocoa LCCc1 rose 0.9% to 2,006 pounds a tonne after gaining 0.7% on Tuesday.
* March New York cocoa CCc1 rose 1.4% to $2,531
a tonne, having closed flat on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Maytaal Angel Editing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan)
((email@example.com(00442075429105)(Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org) ))
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.