SOFTS-Sugar, coffee steady, near multi-year lows
* Brisk flow of Brazilian export sugar
* Ample off-year Brazil crop weighs on arabica coffee
* Trade awaits Q4 Europe, N. American cocoa grind next week
(Adds trade comment, updates prices)
LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar and arabica coffee futures were little changed near multi-year lows, weighed by plentiful supplies, but gained ground on Friday as the euro rallied against the dollar.
ICE second-month cocoa eased, but stood above a 5-1/2-month low touched earlier this month, with London second-month cocoa weaker, just above an 8-1/2-month low.
The euro rose to its highest since April 2012 against the dollar on Friday with investors continuing to trade on the absence of any hints as to future euro zone interest rate cuts from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday.
As the dollar weakened, ICE raw sugar and arabica coffee futures clawed slightly higher. A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper in terms of other currencies.
"I was surprised sugar did not strengthen more as the euro rallied," one Paris-based sugar futures broker said.
Expectations of big raw sugar and arabica coffee supplies from Brazil, the world's top sugar and coffee producer, and slim prospects for a tightening global supply/demand picture in both commodities, dragged on prices.
"There is no massive conviction about a possible tightening of the market balance in the near term," said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, soft commodities analyst with Barclays Capital.
"The sugar export figures from Brazil are in very good shape. The expectations are very good for the next centre-south Brazilian crop."
Brazil's main center-south cane, sugar and ethanol production all increased during the 2012/13 season, which is almost complete, from the previous year, industry association Unica said on Thursday.
March raw sugar futures on ICE traded 0.02 cent or 0.11 percent lower at 18.94 cents a lb at 1541 GMT, not far above a two-year low of 18.31 cents touched on Dec. 13.
"In the medium term we continue to expect a test of the recent low at 18.31 cents, but in the short term, we are conscious that a break of 19 cents may well trigger a short covering rally to resistance around 19.40/50," said Thomas Kujawa of brokerage Sucden Financial.
March white sugar on Liffe edged down 90 cents or 0.18 percent to $512.30 per tonne in light volume of 1,642 lots.
Analysts anticipate higher production of sugar in the centre-south of Brazil, the main growing region of the world's top exporter, in 2013/14, which is expected to aggravate a huge global supply glut.
In coffee, expectations that Brazil's "off-year" harvest will be not far off the last on-year crop, weighed on arabica futures, Unnikrishnan said.
Brazil will harvest its largest ever off-year coffee crop in the 2013/14 season, the government said on Wednesday in its first estimate for the season, forecasting output that could be almost as big as the record 2012 on-year harvest.
"The expectation that the off-year crop will be so high, will mean arabicas prices are not likely to go higher," Unnikrishnan said.
Brazil exported 2.57 million 60-kg bags of unroasted, green coffee in December, down 1.57 percent from the 2.61 million bags exported in the same month in 2011, the Council of Green Coffee Exporters, Cecafe, said on Thursday.
ICE March arabica coffee erased losses and was up 0.25 cent or 0.17 percent to $1.4990 per lb.
March robusta coffee futures dipped $1 or 0.05 percent to $1,929 a tonne in modest turnover of 2,873 lots.
FAVOURABLE COCOA WEATHER
Favourable weather for development of the 2013 West African mid crops due to start around April, had contributed to the easing of ICE cocoa futures, which stood above the 5-1/2-month low touched on Jan. 9.
Dealers awaited release of European and North American fourth-quarter grind data, a measure of demand, due to be released next week, after disappointing figures in the previous quarter.
Benchmark London May cocoa futures traded down 2 pounds or 0.14 percent at 1,449 pounds per tonne in moderate volume of 4,438 lots.
The Liffe market was consolidating after moving in a tight range over the past week.
ICE March cocoa futures eased $7 or 0.31 percent to $2,262 per tonne.
Cocoa butter, a key ingredient of chocolate, remained at three-year highs in Asia amid thin trade, but volumes are expected to pick up within the next few weeks as buyers start stocking up ahead of Easter, traders said on Friday.
(Editing by James Jukwey)