SOFTS-ICE sugar at over 2-year low, coffee steady
* Third consecutive world sugar surplus weighs
* Index reweighting should support arabica price
(Adds quote, updates prices)
LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE slipped to a more than two-year low on Wednesday, while arabica coffee was steady, with both markets weighed down by surplus supplies.
Cocoa futures on Liffe rose as dealers anticipated a small delivery against the December contract, which expired this session.
Raw sugar eased to its lowest level since August 2010, with producers showing little sign of selling aggressively at current depressed levels and importers also sitting back after the recent slide.
"I can't see any rush on the importers side to purchase, as apart from Indonesia all the other big importers are well covered," said Sergey Gudoshnikov, a senior economist with the London-based International Sugar Organization.
"Middle Eastern and North African countries will keep buying but they are relatively smaller importers."
March raw sugar futures on ICE were off 0.14 cent or 0.7 percent at 18.74 cents a lb at 1504 GMT, after earlier trading as low as 18.63 cents.
"A continued drift downward in prices would not be surprising considering we're in the third year of surplus," the ISO's Gudoshnikov said.
Dealers and analysts noted that some importing countries recently took measures to protect their domestic markets.
"Egypt and Vietnam have introduced import duties to avoid buying cheap sugar, and Pakistan is talking about introducing a subsidy on exports," Gudoshnikov added.
March white sugar on Liffe fell $3.80 or 0.8 percent to $504.40 per tonne.
March arabica coffee futures eased 20 cents or 0.1 percent to $1.4930 per lb, after falling last week to $1.4635, the lowest level since June 2010.
Dealers said that investors were buying in anticipation that the annual reweighting done by commodities indexes will be supportive of arabica coffee.
It was unclear, however, whether any rally triggered by index-related buying could be sustained, given the bearish fundamentals that have helped push the market to its recent low.
"There's a massive index reweight, and the funds are very short. The question is whether the index reweight is going to trigger a proper short-covering rally or if the balance sheet is so negative that the market isn't going anywhere," said James Hearn, joint head of agriculture at Marex Spectron.
March robusta coffee futures were up $15 or 0.8 percent at $1,899 a tonne.
In cocoa, dealers eyed the expiry of Liffe's December contract, which went off the board at around level money with March after trading at a premium as wide as over 80 pounds last week <LCC-1=R>.
March cocoa futures on Liffe were up 15 pounds or 1 percent at 1,534 pounds ($2,500) a tonne.
Speculators have built up a large net long in both the London and New York markets, which could support prices in the lead up to the end of the quarter as speculators attempt to help their balance sheets.
"The managed long is progressively trying to push it up, but it's unlikely to get far beyond 1,600 pounds as there will be origin selling," a European analyst said.
Barry Callebaut AG said it saw modest growth in the global chocolate market in the year to August 2013, with demand from Asia likely to offset a sluggish European market.
The world's largest chocolate maker said on Wednesday it would buy the cocoa ingredients business of Singapore-based Petra Foods for $950 million in cash.
March cocoa on ICE rose $38 or 1.6 percent to $2,418 a tonne. ($1 = 0.6210 British pounds)
(Editing by Alison Birrane and Jane Baird)