SOFTS-Arabica coffee lower as stocks unscathed by Sandy
* No reports of damage to U.S. arabica after Sandy
* Indonesia's robusta production seen up 13 percent y/y
* Sugar seen heading lower as Brazil harvest continues
(Adds quote, updates prices)
LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures turned lower on Tuesday as early reports suggested that exchange stocks in warehouses on the United States' East Coast were left unscathed by Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the region.
ICE cocoa futures surged up over 4 percent in a brief rally which dealers said was driven by speculative activity, while raw sugar futures were slightly higher, with ample supplies capping upside potential.
Arabica coffee slipped, giving back gains made late in the previous session, when fears emerged that the massive storm may have damaged around 400,000 60-kg bags of exchange stocks stored in the New York/New Jersey area.
December arabica coffee futures were 4.25 cents or 2.6 percent lower at $1.5740 per lb at 1553 GMT. The second-month hit $1.6070 on Monday, the lowest level since Sept. 7.
``There was some concern that warehouse stocks might get damaged but it doesn't appear to be the case today and the way the market has moved shows that,'' said a London-based broker.
The broker noted that weather forecasts would need to be monitored over the coming days as the storm could yet intensify, with a risk of floods.
Cocoa warehousekeeper Camden International Commodities, which currently houses about 1.2 million bags in nine warehouses on the New Jersey side of the Port of Delaware River, said it had not seen any damage to stock.
``We went through all our warehouses this morning. We did not lose a bag,'' said Steve Yeager, general manager of the New Jersey-based firm, adding the warehouses did not sustain any structural damage and there was no flooding.
There are currently a total of 4.154 million bags of cocoa housed in ICE certified warehouses in the United States.
January robusta coffee futures were down $25 or 1.2 percent at $1,990 a tonne, after touching $1,983 earlier in the session, the lowest level for the second-month since Sept. 6, as top producer Vietnam's large crop weighed.
``Following last year's record harvest in Vietnam, the world's biggest producer of robusta, more and more observers expect this year's crop to achieve a similarly high level,'' Commerzbank said in a daily commodities note.
Cocoa futures in London and New York moved higher, holding above Monday's two-week low, with the ICE market staging a brief rally when prices momentarily rose over 4 percent.
``We're all a bit surprised by the move but there might be some pre month-end window dressing ahead of tomorrow by speculators,'' said Eric Sivry, head of agri-options brokerage at Marex Spectron.
ICE December cocoa futures were up $53 or 2.3 percent at $2,404 per tonne, after peaking at $2,457 earlier in the session.
``We're still stuck in the range that's been in place since December so for the past ten or eleven months we haven't had a confirmed trend one way or another,'' said a UK-based broker.
Liffe March cocoa futures were 17 pounds or 1.1 percent higher at 1,550 pounds per tonne.
``A close above 1,544 would suggest the downside move of the last four or five days has lost momentum,'' added the broker.
March sugar futures rose 0.18 cent or 0.9 percent to 19.59 cents a lb, remaining near Monday's five-week low of 19.27 cents, with dealers eyeing the 2012/13 global surplus as Brazil reaches the tail-end of its harvest.
``There is no reason for the market to rally unless there is prolonged rain in Brazil. If the harvest goes well, we'll see lower levels but any short term decline will be supported around 18.50,'' said a London-based broker, adding that trading volumes were down as Sandy paralysed New York and other major U.S. cities.
December white sugar on Liffe was up $2.30 or 0.4 percent at $546.10 per tonne.
(Additional reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by William Hardy)