SOFTS-Raw sugar dips, coffee firms, near multi-year lows
* Sugar prices under pressure from big Brazil, Thai crops
* Roya fungus not having immediate arabica market impact
* Abundant W. Africa cocoa mid crops expected
(Adds trade comment, byline; updates prices)
LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar futures dipped on Wednesday to levels around 2-1/2-year lows, while arabica coffee rose from a more than two-year low and ICE cocoa steadied above a 7-1/2-month low.
March raw sugar futures on ICE traded down 0.06 cent or 0.33 percent at 18.16 cents per lb at 1235 GMT, after hitting 17.87 cents a lb on Thursday, its lowest level since August 2010.
Dealers said sugar prices were consolidating after a short-covering rally on Tuesday.
"The market remains range-bound, but the lows are slowly getting lower, and any rallies are short-covering in nature," said James Kirkup, head of sugar brokerage at ABN AMRO Markets.
Speculators raised their net short positions in raw sugar and coffee contracts on ICE Futures U.S. to record highs in the week to Feb. 12, increasing their bearish stance in markets abundant in supplies, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
Heavy sugar supply prospects kept prices under pressure, with an improving crop outlook for top producer Brazil.
India, second only to Brazil, is unlikely to export the sweetener for up to three years, however, as high production costs price shipments out of the global market and a drought in major growing regions squeezes output.
Thai raw sugar for the Japanese market struggled to attract buyers as premiums stayed near their strongest in five months, while there were some sales of whites from Pakistan, dealers said on Tuesday.
Brazilian dock workers in Santos on Tuesday ended a two-day occupation of a Chinese ship in protest at port modernization plans as unions threatened a national port strike over the government plan, which they fear will cost jobs and cut wages.
May white sugar on Liffe eased 50 cents or 0.1 percent to $495.10 a tonne in light volume of 1,130 lots.
New York March sugar seems to be approaching the bottom of a medium-term downtrend, as indicated by its wave pattern, according to Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
COFFEE, ABUNDANT COCOA
May arabica coffee futures on ICE rose 1.6 cent or 1.16 percent to $1.4000 per lb, bouncing off a more than 2-1/2 year low of $1.3760 per lb struck on Tuesday, with ample excess supply limiting gains.
"Any sort of positive reaction in the arabicas market elicits producer selling," said Keith Flury, a senior soft commodities analyst with Rabobank.
The spread of the tree-killing fungus roya is expected to cost Central America's coffee industry roughly half a billion dollars in the current 2012/13 harvesting season, a statement released by the region's agriculture ministers says.
"There is a lot of talk about roya, but it will be a while before it impacts on trade flows," Flury said.
May robusta coffee futures on Liffe firmed $6, or 0.29 percent, to $2,050 a tonne in thin turnover of 1,413 lots.
May cocoa on Liffe rose 5 pounds or 0.36 percent to 1,413 pounds ($2,200) a tonne in light volume of 1,568 lots, above Tuesday's 10-month low of 1,403 pounds.
May cocoa futures on ICE fell $5 or 0.24 percent to $2,114 per tonne, standing just above a 7-1/2-month low of $2,113 per tonne.
Cocoa dealers said production from the West African mid-crop could reach an all-time high due to favourable weather conditions.
"The mid crop is looking really good," Flury said.
Cameroon's cocoa exports rose almost 15 percent in the five months to the end of January, compared with the same period last season, National Cocoa and Coffee Board statistics showed on Tuesday. ($1 = 0.6475 British pounds)
(Reporting by David Brough; editing by James Jukwey and Jane Baird)