LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE edged higher on Thursday, boosted by light speculative buying, while white sugar hovered just above 2-1/2 year lows set a day earlier as ample supplies weighed.
* July New York cocoa was up $12, or 0.5 percent, at$2,592 a tonne by 1146 GMT.
* July London cocoa also rose 6 pounds, or 0.3 percent, to 1,779 pounds a tonne.
* Dealers pointed to light-volume buying by speculators inspired by a positive close in the prior session.
* They also noted a scarcity of high-quality Ivorian beans continued to lend support to nearby prices, with physical differentials strengthening further recently.
* One dealer pegged the premium for quality Ivorian beans at about 100 pounds above the May contract, compared to a typical spread of 70 pounds.
* “It’s not a matter of volume here, it’s a matter of quality,” said one dealer. “There’s a lack of good quality cocoa from the Ivory Coast.”
* However, dealers noted a broader surplus of global supplies and hedging by West African producers was capping gains and putting pressure on the forward positions in London.
* Market participants were also awaiting first-quarter grind data from Europe and North America, due out next week, for signs of demand.
* Dealers forecast European figures rising 2 to 4 percent. North American grindings were seen little changed, with forecasts ranging between a slight decline to modest growth of up to 2 percent.
* August white sugar was down $0.60, or 0.2 percent, at $334.60, after touching a session low of $332.60.
* Prices hit their lowest since August 2015 in the previous session.
* Focus remained on ample global supplies from India and Thailand, although dealers said scale-down buying was putting a floor on prices.
* May white sugar, which expires on Friday, rose $1, or 0.3 percent, to $347.20 per tonne.
* The front-month premium over August widened to more than $12, with dealers noting this signalled sellers were hesitant to deliver at current prices.
* May raw sugar fell 0.02, or 0.2 percent, to 12.04 cents per lb, after also touching a 2-1/2 year low on Wednesday.
* May robusta coffee was down $1, or 0.1 percent, at $1,733 a tonne.
* May arabica coffee was unchanged at $1.1815 per lb.
* Brazil’s 2018 coffee crop is likely to yield a record 60.5 million 60-kg bags, a large jump from 2017 due to favourable weather and the recovery of robusta output. (Reporting by Ana Ionova, editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton)