Arabica coffee futures climbed Wednesday on short-covering while raw sugar's attempt to push up ran into producer and investor selling causing it to fall.
The rest of the complex was down in a somewhat tepid session in the softs complex.
May arabicas on ICE increased 1.10 cents to conclude at $1.847 per lb, having hit an intra-day top of $1.8845.
Robusta May coffee futures lost $10 to close at $2,022 per tonne.
"This appears to be a technically motivated bounce," Country Hedging Inc analyst Sterling Smith said, adding though any bounce would likely be "short-lived" given harvest pressure from Brazil's large coffee crop.
"I don't see a rebound.
There may be short-term recoveries related to technical activity but generally I would expect the market to continue falling because there's enough supply around," F.O.
Licht analyst Uhlenbrock said.
Dealers noted arabica coffee's premium to robustas had narrowed significantly in recent weeks and should remain comparatively low, at least until next month's options expiry for the May robusta contract.
Raw sugar mounted an early advance but ran into producer sales and then investors bailed late and sent sweetener values tumbling.
Consultant Jonathan Kingsman warned on Wednesday that sugar prices could fall after rallying to a three-week high this week, saying funds that piled into the sweetener may have over-reacted to talk of lower-than-expected Brazilian output.
"For the moment the reaction (latest rally) is probably a little bit too big," Kingsman said in an interview on the sidelines of the Kingsman European Sugar Seminar.
May raw sugar futures on ICE declined 0.28 cent to close 25.33 cents a lb.
London May white sugar futures fell $10.30 or by 1.5 percent to finish at $655.40 per tonne.
"Generally it should be headed southwards because the sugar market is in surplus but it has held up quite well recently ...
and it seems as if a lot of this has to do with the uncertainty about Brazil's upcoming crop," Uhlenbrock said.
Cocoa futures finished lower.
May cocoa on ICE dropped $13 to settle at $2,359 per tonne.
London May cocoa shed 5 pounds to end at 1,514 pounds per tonne.