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SOFTS-Raw sugar prices ease as dollar firms, oil retreats

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LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Raw sugar and arabica coffee futures fell on Friday with a firmer dollar and a retreat in crude oil helping to halt recent run-ups, while cocoa prices also weakened.

SUGAR

* March raw sugar was off 0.11 cent or 0.7 percent at 15.14 cents a lb at 1534 GMT. The front month rose to a peak of 15.37 cents on Wednesday, its highest since Nov. 28.

* Dealers said a slightly stronger dollar and a decline in crude oil prices weighed on prices.

* But the market was underpinned by the prospect of index fund buying starting on Monday as funds rebalance after sugar's poor performance in 2017.

* Dealers said the market would keep a close watch on CFTC data to be issued later on Friday to see if speculators had further trimmed a net short position.

* March white sugar was down $1.10, or 0.3 percent, at $397.60 a tonne.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee was off 0.55 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $1.29 per lb, extending its retreat from a 2-1/2 month high of $1.3135 set on Wednesday.

* Dealers said the recent run-up had been largely driven by short covering and there appeared to be little interest in taking fresh long positions at current levels.

* "The trading volumes have remained thin in recent sessions but have favoured the downside suggesting lack of appetite for current prices," said Sucden Financial technical analyst Geordie Wilkes in a market note.

* Global coffee exports fell 9.2 percent in November from a year earlier to 9.02 million 60-kg bags, data from the International Coffee Organization (ICO) showed on Friday.

* March robusta coffee rose $1, or 0.1 percent, to $1,729 a tonne.

COCOA

* March London cocoa was down 3 pounds, or 0.2 percent, at 1,364 pounds a tonne.

* The front month had fallen to a three-week low of 1,322 pounds on Thursday before rebounding in late trade.

* Dealers said the current strong flow of cocoa to ports in Ivory Coast was keeping the market on the defensive although it was seeing sporadic short covering rallies.

* March New York cocoa fell by $8, or 0.4 percent, to $1,897 a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Susan Fenton and Jane Merriman)