SOFTS-Arabicas up on dollar weakness, recover from 32-month low
* Analyst sees further downside price risk in sugar
* Harmattan winds in W. Africa seen average
* Lack of producer selling due to Brazil, Vietnam holidays
(Adds trade comment, byline; updates prices)
LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - ICE arabica coffee futures rose, recovering from a fall to a 32-month low, as the dollar weakened, while raw sugar dipped, both markets pressured by expectations of big Brazilian crops.
ICE cocoa inched down to an 7-1/2-month low, weighed down by favourable weather before mid-crop harvests in West Africa, the world's top cocoa-growing region.
As the dollar weakened against a basket of currencies, second-month arabica coffee futures on ICE were up 1.05 cent or 0.73 percent to $1.4400 per lb at 1543 GMT.
Earlier in the day they touched the lowest level since June 2010 at $1.4125 per lb, pressured by expectations of a huge "off-year" crop in top producer Brazil. A recovery in Colombian arabicas output also weighed on prices.
"There is meant to be an abundance of arabicas. People are playing the arbitrage with robustas. It is the Tet holiday in Vietnam, and people perceive that as a period when producers back away from the market," a coffee futures broker said.
May robusta coffee futures on Liffe eased $16, or 0.76 percent, to $2,082 a tonne, having hit a four-month high of $2,131 on Friday.
Birgit Wippler, a soft commodities analyst with F.O. Licht in Germany, said she saw downside price risk because the weight of supply exceeded bullish factors such as roya, or leaf rust, which has hammered coffee crops in Central America.
"Generally there are more risks to the downside than there are to the upside," Wippler said.
March raw sugar futures on ICE were down 0.23 cent or 1.25 percent at 18.21 cents a lb. They were still near a 2-1/2-year low of 18.03 cents per lb touched on Friday.
ICE raw sugar futures were underpinned by a lack of Brazilian producer selling due to the Carnival holiday in the world's top sugar producing country, dealers said.
Christoph Berg, another analyst with F.O. Licht, said he saw downside price risk in sugar as the huge Brazilian 2013/14 cane crop was expected to outweigh recent favourable government incentives for the ethanol industry.
"There will possibly be more downside pressure in sugar," Berg said.
Moves to increase the ethanol blend in fuel and to raise gasoline prices in Brazil have bolstered prospects for the domestic ethanol industry.
Some dealers said expectations of a bigger allocation from Brazilian cane to ethanol next season could support sugar prices.
"I don't think the bullish news with regard to ethanol prices will affect the sugar market that much, because of the big cane production," Berg said.
March white sugar on Liffe was down $2.80 or 0.57 percent at $485.70 a tonne in moderate volume of 3,250 lots.
Traders anticipated a modest delivery against expiry of the March white sugar contract on Wednesday.
"The situation vis-a-vis March London, expiring tomorrow, is still unclear," Nick Penney of brokerage Sucden Financial said.
"The main sugars expected to be delivered are Central American and some Argentine," he added.
"We foresee a low delivery this time around."
Another factor supporting sugar prices was concerns over dry weather in number 2 producer India.
India's sugar production for the 2013/14 season is set to fall below consumption for the first time in four years as a water shortage trims acreage in three key states.
May cocoa on Liffe was up 4 pounds or 0.28 percent at 1,427 pounds ($2,200) a tonne in moderate volume of 5,771 lots.
Dealers said upside was capped by good supply prospects in West Africa and an anticipated backlog of origin forward sales. Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer.
"There is still the perception that there is still cocoa to be sold sitting above the market," one London-based cocoa futures broker said.
He referred to average seasonal harmattan winds in West Africa, noting that there were no concerns over weather at present.
May cocoa futures on ICE were up $4 or 0.18 percent at $2,176 a tonne. ($1 = 0.6385 British pounds)
(editing by Jane Baird)