Coffee futures prices resumed their upward march Friday after a one-day respite from what had become almost routine advances by the limit allowed for daily trading.
"Traders are really uncertain about the direction of coffee prices, with them going down one day and up the next," said Pamela Rockley, an analyst in New York with Prudential-Bache Securities.
The drought in Brazil, which may have destroyed an estimated 40% to 65% of the crop, remains the underlying driving force for the market at the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange in New York.
But, Rockley said, some traders fear there may be a reduction in consumption because of higher retail prices.
Late Friday, General Foods Corp. announced its latest round of wholesale price increases, boosting its Maxwell House brand by 56 cents to $3.96 a pound. Two other big American roasters, Proctor & Gamble (Folgers) and Chock Full O' Nuts, also increased prices in the last week.
Soybean futures prices declined on the Chicago Board of Trade, responding to forecasts for rain in Brazil.
Grain prices mostly were lower, but by lesser amounts.