SOFTS-Supply surplus sends ICE sugar and coffee to two-year lows
* Scope for further losses on ICE sugar appears limited
* Vietnam robusta coffee exports soar in November
* Small delivery expected against Liffe December cocoa
(Adds quotes, bylines, updates prices)
LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Raw sugar and arabica coffee futures on ICE both fell to their lowest levels in more than two years on Thursday, extending prolonged slides driven by surplus supplies.
Cocoa futures on Liffe were also lower, giving up most of the prior session's technically-driven gains, as traders said top producer Ivory Coast had begun sales for the 2013/14 season.
March raw sugar futures on ICE were off 0.05 cents, or 0.3 percent, at 18.49 cents per lb at 1122 GMT after dipping to 18.43 cents, the lowest level for the benchmark front month since August 2010.
Prices have almost halved from a peak of 36.08 cents in February 2011, with successive substantial global surpluses in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons leading to a build-up in stocks and sparking a sustained bear market.
Romain Lathiere, head of dealing at Diapason Commodities Management, said the scope for further losses appeared limited, adding that the market may consolidate before rebounding.
"The downtrend has been really long. All the (bearish) news has already been priced in," he said. "It is a matter of when we will see a rebound. I wouldn't want to be short right now."
March white sugar on Liffe fell $2, or 0.4 percent, to $498.40 a tonne after touching $496.50, the lowest level for the front month since June 2010.
Arabica coffee futures on ICE have followed a similar patterns, with a large crop in Brazil and a favourable outlook for next year's harvest in the world's top producer leading to a sustained decline in prices.
March arabica coffee futures were off 0.85 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $1.4565 per lb after dipping to $1.4550, the lowest level for the second month since June 2010.
Diapason's Lathiere said that both raw sugar and arabica coffee could derive support from end-of-year rebalancing of commodity indices, which can lead to buying of markets that have underperformed and have reduced their weighting.
"It will bottom for a while and then rise up," he said of the coffee market.
Coffee stocks held in European ports fell 2.6 percent during October, figures from the European Coffee Federation showed on Thursday.
March robusta coffee futures were up $10 or 0.5 percent at $1,900 a tonne underpinned by the current low level of certified stocks.
Liffe certified coffee stocks stood at 108,490 tonnes in late November, compared with almost 300,000 tonnes a year earlier.
Vietnam's coffee exports in November soared 72.6 percent from a year earlier to 122,000 tonnes, or 2.03 million bags, the Vietnam Customs department said on Thursday, higher than market expectations and the government's preliminary estimate.
Cocoa futures were also lower, with the market slipping back after a strong performance on Wednesday.
March cocoa on Liffe fell 23 pounds, or 1.5 percent, to 1,524 pounds a tonne.
The contract gained 28 pounds on Thursday. The rise was viewed to be driven largely by technical factors, though some industry buying may have helped to strengthen prices.
Dealers noted deliveries against the December Liffe contract that expired on Wednesday totalled a modest 13,220 tonnes.
December rose to a premium of more than 80 pounds to March at one stage before expiring at about level money.
"The explanation behind the high switch level was the extremely low level of certified stocks and the inability of the market to grade fresh cocoa in response to high spread prices," said Eric Sivry, of Marex Spectron.
Sivry said that low certified stocks could cause a premium to develop on the March contract, which is trading at a small discount to May <LCC-1=R>.
"The low level of certified stocks shows no signs of being replenished any time soon, and many fear that a 'contagion' effect may soon impact the March/May spread. If this was the case, the cocoa market could remain tense."
March cocoa futures on ICE were off $29, or 1.2 percent, at $2,412 a tonne.
(Editing by Alison Birrane and David Goodman)