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SOFTS-Cocoa prices weaken, coffee and sugar also lower

LONDON, April 6 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures were lower on Friday but remained within their recent trading band while sugar and coffee prices also eased.

COCOA

* May New York cocoa was down $16, or 0.6 percent, at $2,492 a tonne by 1141 GMT.

* The front month set a 1-1/2 year high of $2,647 a tonne on Monday before retreating to a two-week low of $2,433 on Thursday.

* Dealers said improving crop prospects in Ivory Coast had tempered bullish sentiment although the strength of buying around Thursday's low suggested the market may set for a period of consolidation.

* "As things stand ... you would be forgiven for thinking the market may be creating somewhat of a $200 range," INTL FCStone in Singapore said in a market note.

* May London cocoa was down 12 pounds, or 0.7 percent, at 1,716 pounds a tonne.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar was down 0.04 cents, or 0.3 percent, at 12.31 cents per lb as the market continued to hover just above last week's 2-1/2 year low of 12.18 cents.

* "The bullishly inclined are focusing on the lack of follow through selling in both London (whites) and especially NY (raws) and the size of the spec net and gross short positions," said James Liddiard of consultancy Agrilion.

* Liddiard said, however, the market was keeping a close watch on Brazil's real currency and any renewed weakness could trigger more selling by producers.

* Dealers said fundamentals remained bearish with the market set for global surpluses in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.

* Brazil's sugarcane industry on Thursday took aim at policies undertaken by Pakistan and India to protect local producers and boost sugar exports, arguing those measures could further depress global prices.

* May white sugar, which expires at the end of next week, fell $1.10, or 0.3 percent, to $349.10 a tonne.

COFFEE

* May arabica coffee was down 0.30 cent, or 0.3 percent at $1.1725 per lb. The front month fell to a low of $1.1595 on Wednesday, its weakest since June.

* Dealers said the prospect of a large crop in Brazil this season remained the main bearish factor with farmers selling old-crop stocks ahead of the harvest.

* May robusta coffee was down $9 at $1,750 a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt Editing by Louise Ireland)