LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures edged higher on Thursday but remained in striking distance of last week’s 2-1/2 year low, while arabica coffee prices regained some ground after the prior session’s fall to a nine-month low.
* May raw sugar was up a marginal 0.02 cent, or 0.2 percent, at 12.29 cents per lb at 1042 GMT with the market holding just above last week’s 2-1/2 year low of 12.18 cents.
* Dealers said the market was underpinned by some consumer buying after the recent weakness in prices which had also led to a slowdown in producer selling.
* “We suspect consumer’s sugar demand at these levels will eventually be met and then they will stop buying. And nervous producers are likely to have to lower their price targets and start selling again,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said.
* “That shifting balance is likely to see prices slide further,” he added.
* May white sugar fell $0.90, or 0.3 percent, to $350.30 a tonne.
* May arabica coffee was up 0.45 cent, or 0.4 percent at $1.1740 per lb. The front month fell to a low of $1.1595 on Wednesday, its weakest since June.
* Dealers said prices for the front month were supported by a rolling forward of fund short positions from the May to the July contract.
* May robusta coffee was down $1 at $1,754 a tonne.
* Vietnam, the world’s top robusta producer, is expected to export 100,000 to 140,000 tonnes (1.7-2.3 million 60-kg bags) of coffee in April, traders said on Thursday.
* Vietnam’s coffee exports in March were estimated by the government at 180,000 tonnes, higher than traders’ forecasts of 150,000-170,000 tonnes. Actual March coffee exports data is scheduled to be released on April 10.
* May New York cocoa was down $8, or 0.3 percent, at $2,467 a tonne.
* Dealers noted CCC data issued on Wednesday put Ivory Coast port arrivals at 1.48 million tonnes by March 25, significantly above an exporters’ estimate issued last week by Reuters of 1.35 million.
* The data reinforced expectations that the Ivory Coast will have a large crop this year albeit slightly below the prior season’s record.
* May London cocoa was down 14 pounds, or 0.8 percent, at 1,711 pounds a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt, editing by David Evans)