LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures rose on Tuesday, lifted in thin volume as speculators eased up on selling, while arabica coffee hit its lowest in 3-1/2 months as crop-friendly rains in Brazil weighed.
* March raw sugar was up 0.14 cent, or 1 percent, at 14.32 cents per lb by 1148 GMT, helped by light speculative buying after a sharp plunge in the previous session.
* Prices were battered on Monday by renewed speculative selling as a stronger dollar also dragged broader commodity markets lower.
* The market steadied on Tuesday, however, with dealers noting speculators were hesitant to keep selling aggressively.
* “At the moment it seems the biggest ally of the sugar bull is that the funds are heavily short,” said Sucden Financial’s Tom Kujawa, noting this could spur a short-covering rally but gains were likely to be short-lived.
* Dealers noted traded volumes were thin, however, and focus remained on plentiful global supplies expected in the 2017/18 season.
* December white sugar was up $2.50, or 0.7 percent, at $371.50 a tonne.
* December arabica coffee was down 0.10 cent, or 0.1 percent, at $1.2365 per lb, after hitting $1.2355, its lowest since June 29.
* This extended losses from the previous session when the market fell sharply on heavy speculative selling, triggered by crop-friendly rains in top grower Brazil after a dry spell.
* Dealers noted, however, selling stalled at current price levels, easing some of the pressure off prices.
* “I feel the downside is more limited,” said one trader. “But at the moment, the crop in Brazil, from the numbers being talked about, it looks big.”
* However, industry interest remained weak, with dealers noting roasters were unwilling to buy more supplies in the spot market, which was limiting the upside potential.
* November robusta coffee rose $6, or 0.3 percent, to $1,994 per tonne.
* The market was also monitoring weather in Vietnam, which has been hit by deadly flooding recently, although dealers said it has not reached the country’s coffee areas.
* “The weather is the one thing that still remains uncertain,” the trader said. “But I still think there’s plenty of coffee around.”
* December New York cocoa was down $7, or 0.3 percent, at $2,037 a tonne, pressured by a stronger dollar.
* December London cocoa was up 1 pound, or 0.1 percent, at 1,538 pounds a tonne. (Reporting by Ana Ionova, editing by David Evans)