LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - Sugar futures were higher on Friday with focus partly on the expiry of the May whites contract later in the day while cocoa prices eased slightly.
* May raw sugar rose 0.10 cents, or 0.8 percent, to 12.15 cents per lb by 1142 GMT, edging away from a 2-1/2 year low of 11.93 cents set on Wednesday.
* Dealers said the scope for any significant rally appeared limited with producer selling evident when the market moved up to a session high of 12.21 cents.
* The focus on the whites market was on the expiry of the May contract later on Friday with a delivery of less than 150,000 tonnes now anticipated.
* The sugar is expected to come from Central America, Thailand and possibly the EU although depressed prices curbed interest in tendering European sugar despite a front month premium over August of around $14.
* August white sugar rose $2.10, or 0.6 percent, to $339.70 per tonne.
* July New York cocoa was down $9, or 0.35 percent, at $2,555 a tonne.
* The contract is holding around the middle of this month’s range of $2,474 to $2,675 as dealers await next week’s first quarter grind data for Europe and North America.
* Europe’s Q1 grind, scheduled to be issued on Wednesday, is expected to show a year-on-year rise of two to four percent. The grind showed year-on-year increases in every quarter last year.
* Dealers said the outlook was less clear for North America, where grind data is due to be released on Thursday, with estimates ranging from 1.5 percent lower to 2 percent higher.
* July London cocoa fell 9 pounds, or 0.5 percent, to 1,752 pounds a tonne.
* May arabica coffee was unchanged at $1.1790 per lb with the prospect of a record crop in Brazil this year continuing to keep a lid on prices.
* May robusta coffee was up $9, or 0.5 percent, at $1,720 a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt)