SOFTS-ICE sugar depressed by ample supply, coffee steady
* Dry weather eyed in top robusta grower Vietnam
* Cocoa 2012/13 supply and demand seen close to balanced
(Adds details, quotes, updates prices)
LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar futures edged down towards a 2-1/2 year low on Friday, as excess supply kept a lid on prices, while coffee was little changed and cocoa eased.
Raw sugar's front-month contract dipped to 17.61 cents a lb on Thursday, the lowest level for the front-month contract since August 2010, as ample supply weighed in the lead up to another bumper crop from Brazil.
May raw sugar futures eased towards Thursday's low, falling 0.27 cent, or 1.5 percent to 18.12 cents per lb at 1341 GMT.
"There was not a lot of buying below the market, so it hit a bit of a vacuum and came off," said a London-based broker.
"As we're getting down towards 18 cents there's some buying coming in."
Dealers awaited exchange data on the details of the ICE March expiry due later on Friday, with expectations for roughly 152,762 tonnes to be delivered.
Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd is the sole receiver of the ICE futures U.S. March raw sugar contract, taking advantage of declines in global prices, a senior company official told Reuters.
May white sugar on Liffe was down $2.60 or 0.5 percent to $517.10 a tonne.
In robusta coffee, May futures on Liffe edged $1 or 0.05 percent lower, to $2,105 a tonne as traders eyed dry weather in top producer Vietnam.
"Dry weather continues and water shortage is rumoured these days, yet it is too early and a bit exaggerated," said Volcafe, the Switzerland-based coffee division of commodity trade house ED&F Man.
"When rains return soon all will be fine but it needs to be monitored."
Volcafe also said continued strong demand for robusta had strengthened farmers and local agents confidence in withholding coffee, helping to keep differentials on the physical market firm.
Dealers said origin selling kept a lid on arabica prices, which remained near their lowest level since June 2010.
"Brazil is still a big seller," said a London-based broker, noting $1.45 was a key resistance level which the market was struggling to break above.
ICE May arabica coffee edged up 0.1 cent or 0.1 percent to $1.4330 per lb.
The International Coffee Organization kept its 2012/13 world coffee production estimate at around 145 million 60-kg bags, with damage from the outbreak of roya disease yet to be quantified, it said in its monthly report published Friday.
Cocoa futures edged lower toward multi-month lows on both markets, as traders said supply and demand was expected to be close to balanced in the 2012/13 season.
"Most people have been reducing their deficits," said a European trader.
"Speculators have been reducing their length, industry has been adding cover, in terms of supply and demand there's not a great story."
May cocoa futures on ICE were down $25 or 1.2 percent at $2,110 per tonne.
The International Cocoa Organization on Thursday forecast a global cocoa deficit of 45,000 tonnes for the 2012/13 season with production set to decline and grindings expand.
May cocoa on Liffe fell 9 pounds or 0.6 percent to 1,420 pounds a tonne, above last week's 10-month low of 1,403 pounds.
"I think the prices where we are today are close to fair value. There's not an exciting story at the moment," said the trader.
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; Editing by Alison Birrane)