X SOFTS-Liffe robustas hit five-month high, cocoa firm
* Dry weather eyed in top robusta grower Vietnam
* Logistical problems could delay Brazil sugar exports
(Adds quotes, updates prices)
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Robusta coffee futures on Liffe hit a five-month high on Tuesday on concerns about dry weather and as farmers held back beans in the hope of further price increases.
Cocoa was firm, while sugar futures slipped.
Robusta coffee was supported as Vietnamese farmers held back on sales and due to concerns about dry weather for the 2013/14 crop, dealers said.
May robusta coffee futures on Liffe were up $3, or 0.1 percent, at $2,193 a tonne by 1512 GMT after hitting $2,205 earlier in the session, the highest level for the benchmark second month since October 2012.
Dry weather in Vietnam has raised some concerns that production could fall sharply in 2013/14, although dealers and analysts said it was premature to cut crop forecasts.
"There's speculation that Vietnam's harvest will be down 30 percent. I'm not sure that will happen as they've been overly pessimistic in recent years ... which fortunately didn't turn out to be a reality," Michaela Kuhl, an analyst at Commerzbank, said.
Strong demand for robusta beans in emerging markets has also supported prices.
"On the demand side, robusta is much more dynamic than arabica coffee," Kuhl added.
Vietnamese coffee prices continued to climb on Tuesday, having already reached their highest in nearly 18 months, supported by news of possible crop losses and slowing sales by farmers hoarding stocks.
ICE May arabica coffee was off 1.35 cent or 0.9 percent at $1.4240 per lb.
May cocoa on ICE was up $35, or 1.6 percent, at $2,165 a tonne in an extended bounce off last week's nine-month low of $2,034.
Gains were expected to be capped by good supply prospects in West Africa, where favourable weather has aided development of the mid crop, plus dealers said chocolate makers were well covered and unlikely to chase the market higher.
"Industry have been out of the market for a while, running down cover," a London-based broker said, estimating the chocolate industry still had around eight to nine months of cover.
May cocoa on Liffe was up 19 pounds or 1.3 percent at 1,470 pounds per tonne.
Dealers said there had been a pickup in the amount of stocks being exchange-graded in the lead up to the March contract's expiry on Wednesday, indicating someone intended a reasonable-sized delivery.
Valid cocoa stocks in NYSE Liffe's nominated warehouses rose to 71,270 tonnes as of March 4, from 57,250 tonnes on Feb. 18, exchange data showed.
May raw sugar futures fell 0.2 cent or 1.1 percent to 18.63 cents a lb.
Dealers and analysts monitored logistical delays in Brazil that could slow exports from the early stages of the top producer's harvest.
"If everything is delayed with regard to the port logistics for corn and soybeans, that will also influence sugar," said Commerzbank's Kuhl.
Jack Hannon, analyst at trade house ED&F Man said, "There's a record soybean crop in Brazil, a very large corn crop, all of which compete for rail cars and trucks to the ports."
"The worry for the market is if the logistics are under so much strain now when the Centre-South is in its inter-harvest period, what's it going to be like in 4-5 months' time during the seasonal peak for exports."
May white sugar on Liffe were down $4.20 or 0.8 percent to $531.00 a tonne.
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; Editing by Alison Birrane and Jane Baird)