LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Sugar futures slipped on Friday, hovering just above 3-1/2 week lows hit a day earlier as technical pressure and ample supplies weighed, while a weak dollar lifted New York cocoa.
New York soft commodity markets will be closed on Monday, Jan. 15, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
* March white sugar was down $1.90, or 0.5 percent, at $375 a tonne by 1156 GMT, a day after falling to $374.20, its lowest since Dec. 19.
* “London sugar futures sold off sharply as selling pressure caused a break of support,” said Sucden Financial’s Geordie Wilkes, noting a fall below the 40- and 100-day moving average weakened the technicals.
* Dealers also said the market remained vulnerable to selling by Thai producers, who have yet to hedge much of their output.
* March raw sugar was down 0.03 cent, or 0.2 percent, at 14.15 cents per lb, hovering just above the 3-1/2 week low hit on Thursday.
* Sentiment was soured by bearish charts, coupled with expectations for excess production in 2017/18 and possibly in 2018/19.
* “There is plenty of un-hedged 18/19 sugar out there too, which could hit the market in size,” Marex Spectron said in a note.
* Brazilian cane industry group UNICA is expected to release crushing data for the second half of December on Friday, dealers said.
* The market was also closely monitoring Brazil’s currency after the country’s credit rating was downgraded overnight.
* Russian raw sugar imports decreased to 13,500 tonnes in the first 11 months of 2017 from 257,100 in the same period a year ago, customs data showed.
* March New York cocoa rose $8 or 0.4 percent, to $1,936 a tonne, boosted by a weaker dollar.
* March London cocoa fell 2 pounds, or 0.1 percent, to 1,394 pounds a tonne.
* Focus was on upcoming fourth quarter grind data from Europe and North America next week.
* Europe’s grind, which is due out on Monday, is seen rising between two to five percent, according to traders. The North American grind, expected on Jan. 18, is seen up one to three percent.
* March robusta coffee was unchanged at $1,727 a tonne.
* March arabica coffee was up 0.05 cents, or 0.04 percent, at $1.2285 per lb.
* Vietnam exported 24 million 60-kg bags of coffee in 2017, down 19 percent from a year earlier. However, December exports rose 57.6 percent from a month earlier. (Reporting by Ana Ionova, editing by David Evans)