SOFTS-Raw sugar eases ahead of Brazil harvest update
* Dealers eye amount of cane allocated to sugar vs ethanol
* Macquarie expects arabica coffee to trend lower
LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE eased on Tuesday ahead of a harvest update from top grower Brazil that is expected to show a large amount of cane was crushed in the first half of August.
Arabica coffee edged down towards a four-year low, while cocoa futures on ICE were also lower.
October raw sugar on ICE was down 0.04 cent or 0.2 percent at 16.57 cents per lb at 1004 GMT.
Brazil cane industry association Unica is due to publish a harvest update at 1600 GMT, which is expected to show a fast pace of cane crushing for the first half of August after dry weather aided progress.
"The consensus is around 44 million tonnes," which would compare with a record of 46.5 million tonnes for a two-week period, achieved last season, a commodities analyst said.
A London-based broker said, "Most traders are expecting a very high cane crush, which may also be a possible record, but the important data that most participants will be looking at is the allocation of sugar compared to ethanol, particularly as sugar has recently been paying the mills a higher return."
Brazilian exports of ethanol, sugar, corn and other agricultural commodities, which are priced in dollars, picked up through the first three weeks of August after a sharp drop in the real.
October white sugar on Liffe was up $1.10 or 0.2 percent at $484.20 a tonne.
COFFEE NEAR LOW
ICE second-month arabica coffee futures dipped 0.6 cent or 0.5 percent to $1.1715, near last week's four-year low of $1.1635 per lb.
Dealers said the outlook for prices remained bearish due to ample supply after a large off-year crop in top grower Brazil's biennial crop cycle and to the weak real, with the next support level for the second-month seen at around $1.10/lb.
"Next season's on-crop in Brazil will be bearishly supplemented with massive opening stocks, which will linger over the market like dark clouds. We think New York coffee should trend lower," said Kona Haque, an analyst at Macquarie bank.
Liffe November robusta coffee was $11 or 0.6 percent higher at $1,783 a tonne.
December cocoa futures on ICE were down $18 or 0.7 percent at $2,463 a tonne, below last week's nine-month high of $2,547.
A firmer dollar weighed on dollar-denominated commodities including ICE cocoa, making them more expensive in foreign currencies.
December cocoa in London edged up 5 pounds to 1,641 pounds ($2,600) a tonne, below the 11-month high hit last week of 1,673 pounds a tonne.
Cocoa remained underpinned by concerns over the coming Ivory Coast crop after unseasonably dry weather in recent months, which is expected to curb output.
"An early start to the country's dry season, coupled with cool temperatures and overcast skies, have raised concerns on the setting of flowers and small pods that will become the cocoa of the next main crop," said Macquarie's Haque.
"By reducing the outlook for both Ivory Coast and Ghana's new crops, we see a bigger deficit developing for the 2013/14 season." ($1 = 0.6419 British pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; editing by Jane Baird)