SOFTS-Liffe cocoa sets new low, ICE sugar edges up
* Liffe cocoa extends four-week decline in prices
* Robusta coffee buoyed by low certified stocks
* Sugar upside seen capped by producer sales at 19.50 cents
(Adds quotes, updates prices)
LONDON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on Liffe fell to the lowest levels in almost seven months on Thursday as the market extended this month's steep setback linked to bearish charts and improving crop conditions in top grower Ivory Coast.
Liffe markets reopened on Thursday after a two-day holiday and trends partly reflected an adjustment to the prior day's performances on ICE, which was open on Wednesday.
Raw sugar futures on ICE edged higher and arabica coffee prices eased as both markets consolidated after falling to the lowest levels in more than two years earlier this month.
Liffe May cocoa was off 10 pounds or 0.7 percent at 1,459 pounds per tonne at 1226 GMT after earlier touching 1,456 pounds, the lowest level for the second month since June 1.
Prices have fallen by around 127 pounds or 8 percent so far this month.
"The problem you have with cocoa is there is not a great deal of support (nearby)," Sucden Financial analyst Jack Pollard said, adding the market could easily fall another 40 to 50 pounds before finding chart-based support.
Pollard said that open interest had been building steadily during the decline, which was supportive of the strength of the downtrend although the market had become heavily oversold after a four-week slide in prices.
When markets become technically oversold there is a greater likelihood of a short-term rebound in prices.
March cocoa futures on ICE were up $22 or 1.0 percent at $2,285 a tonne. The contract fell to $2,261 on Wednesday, the lowest level for the front month since July 26.
Dealers said a slight improvement in the outlook for the 2012/13 mid-crop in top grower Ivory Coast and forward selling of the 2013/14 harvest had helped to put cocoa on the defensive.
Indonesia expects cocoa bean output at 958,000 tonnes next year, up from 903,652 tonnes in 2012, Agriculture Minister Suswono said on Wednesday.
Arabica coffee futures on ICE were lower with March down 1.30 cents or 0.9 percent at $1.47 per lb.
Prices have recovered slightly after sinking to the lowest levels in more than two years earlier this month with the second month touching $1.4220 per lb on Dec. 14.
"It is consolidating around low levels," Pollard said, adding there were some supportive chart indicators including a potential inverted head and shoulders on the second month.
"If those play out you are looking at the 165 (cents a lb) area," he said.
Arabica coffee prices have been declining for more than 18 months, weighed by excess supplies.
March robusta coffee futures were up $10 or 0.5 percent at $1,916 a tonne, underpinned by low certified stocks.
Indonesia expects coffee bean production to rise to 763,000 tonnes in 2013 from 657,138 tonnes this year, Agriculture Minister Suswono said on Wednesday.
Raw sugar futures on ICE were slightly higher with March up 0.10 cent or 0.5 percent at 19.15 cents a lb.
Dealers said the market was likely to move sideways in the short-term with the upside capped by producer selling around 19.50 cents a lb.
March white sugar on Liffe fell 30 cents or 0.1 percent to $516.20 per tonne.
Indonesia expects white sugar output to climb to 2.82 million tonnes in 2013, up from 2.58 million tonnes this year, Suswono said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Anthony Barker)