(Updates throughout; adds comment, detail)
NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE eased on Monday as worries about weather in top grower Ivory Coast began to subside, while arabica coffee fell but held above last week’s 3-1/2-month low as traders waited to see how much rain would reach top grower Brazil.
* December London cocoa settled down 12 pounds, or 0.8 percent, at 1,580 pounds per tonne.
* December New York cocoa settled down $14, or 0.7 percent, at $2,124 per tonne, extending losses below Friday’s 6-1/2-month high at $2,160.
* The bearish move came after data showed speculators cut their net short position in the U.S. market for the sixth straight week.
* This followed last week’s rally on expectations for strong grind data in Asia and North America.
* Speculative short-covering petered out and dealers said higher prices had deterred some emerging buyers.
* Farmers reported the sunniest weather in three months and that this should improve the size and quality of Ivory Coast’s main crop just before harvesting picks up next month.
* “The recent rains have subsided and things are looking a little bit better. So I think the immediate concerns may be have been a little bit premature,” one dealer said.
* December arabica coffee settled down 0.9 cent, or 0.7 percent, at $1.2435 per lb, not far above last week’s 3-1/2-month low at $1.23.
* Total open interest rose for the tenth straight session to 233,285 contracts on Friday, exchange data showed. One trader noted this as a record high.
* Market participants remained focused on the weather in Brazil, where it was not yet clear if the precipitation will be sufficient to relieve recent dryness in key coffee growing regions.
* “Rains in Parana and showers in southern Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo will improve soil moisture some, but much more rainfall will still be needed across the coffee belt as a whole. Significant dryness will linger in central and northern Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and Bahia,” said meteorologist MDA Information Systems in a note.
* Speculators increased their net short position in arabica coffee to the highest since July’s record in the week to Oct. 17, data showed.
* January robusta coffee settled up $3, or 0.2 percent, at $1,968 per tonne.
* March raw sugar settled down 0.12 cent, or 0.9 percent, at 13.88 cents per lb.
* December white sugar settled down 70 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $368.10 per tonne. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York and Ana Ionova in London; Editing by Marguerita Choy/David Evans)