SOFTS-ICE sugar hovers around 2-1/2 year low, cocoa slips
* Sugar set for fourth consecutive global surplus in 2013/14
* Arabica supported by expected fall in Central Am output
* Rains in West Africa improve cocoa mid crop outlook
(Updates prices, adds analyst and broker quotes)
LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar futures hovered around a 2-1/2 year low on Wednesday, while cocoa eased as rains improved the outlook for crops in West Africa.
Arabica coffee prices edged up, with the market caught between concerns about output and quality in Central America and expectations for a massive crop in Brazil.
March raw sugar futures on ICE, which expire on Thursday, were up 0.11 cent or 0.6 percent at 17.90 cents per lb at 1259 GMT, after earlier dipping to 17.75 cents a lb, the lowest level for the front-month contract since August 2010.
The most active May contract was up 0.05 cent, or 0.3 percent at 18.10 cents per lb.
Dealers cited oversupply and slow demand on the physical market, with buyers potentially waiting for a further fall in prices on the back of forecasts for a fourth straight global surplus in 2013/14.
"The problem we've got at the moment is that crops are growing well in most countries," a London-based broker said, noting that top producer Brazil as well as Thailand and India had fared better than expected.
"China also has huge stocks, and their own crop isn't that bad, so I don't think they're going to be a great importer this year," he added.
May white sugar on Liffe was up $2.50 or 0.5 percent to $511.30 a tonne.
May cocoa futures on ICE were down a modest $4 or 0.2 percent at $2,121 per tonne as recent rainfall over West Africa favoured mid crop development.
"There were concerns about dryness ... and now with forecasts in the next week for some precipitation events, that kind of potential support has left," Keith Flury, an analyst at Rabobank, said.
"This is all coupled with the hedging going on right now of the next main crop, all of which is relatively bearish, so it doesn't look like there's a lot of support in cocoa at the moment," he added.
Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions received abundant rainfall and sunshine last week, ending months of dry weather and improving the outlook for the upcoming mid-crop harvest, farmers and analysts said on Monday.
May cocoa on Liffe fell 6 pounds or 0.4 percent to 1,421 pounds ($2,200) per tonne, above last week's 10-month low of 1,403 pounds per tonne.
Reforms designed to give Ivory Coast cocoa farmers better returns could turn sour as a sinking world market may force the world's top grower to cut its farm price, risking a political backlash and jeopardising future supply.
Meanwhile, arabica coffee edged up from recent lows, as concerns over crop quality and output in Colombia, the world's top high quality coffee producer were supportive.
Thousands of Colombian coffee growers blocked roads and prevented beans from getting to port on Monday on the first day of a strike to demand more government aid after being hit by years of poor weather, crop disease and a strong currency.
"Growers in Colombia have had everything working against them," Rabobank's Flury said, noting that the low returns for growers would not support investment in future output.
"There's concern that non-Brazilian arabica output in 2013/2014 could see quite a large reduction in supply," he said, adding that roya disease was expected to hit Central American output.
ICE May arabica coffee rose 0.9 cent or 0.6 percent to $1.4440 per lb, having dipped last week to $1.3760 per lb, the lowest level for the second-month contract since June 2010.
May robusta coffee futures on Liffe were unchanged at $2,086 a tonne. ($1 = 0.6608 British pounds)
(Reporting by Natalie Huet; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Baird)