SOFTS-White sugar climbs off 2-1/2 year lows, cocoa also edges up

(Updates throughout, adds comment, detail)

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - White sugar futures on ICE edged higher on Thursday, as light buying lifted prices from 2-1/2 year lows touched a day earlier, while cocoa also rose.


* August white sugar was up $1.70, or 0.5 percent, at $336.90 by 1400 GMT, pulling away from Wednesday's low of $332.30, the weakest for the second position since August 2015.

* Dealers noted light scale-down buying had emerged near the lows, which was lending support.

* "The trading pattern still suggests the market is finding substantial pockets of buying at each new low," said Tobin Gorey of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a market note.

* However, dealers said gains were limited as the market remained vulnerable to selling by producers, who remain under-hedged.

* Focus also remained on ample global supplies from India and Thailand.

* May white sugar, which expires on Friday, rose $3.60, or 1 percent, to $349.80 per tonne.

* The front-month premium over August widened to more than $12, with dealers noting this signalled sellers were hesitant to deliver at current prices.

* May raw sugar rose 0.03, or 0.3 percent, to 12.09 cents per lb, after also touching a 2-1/2 year low on Wednesday.


* July New York cocoa climbed $5, or 0.2 percent, to$2,585 a tonne.

* July London cocoa also rose 2 pounds, or 0.1 percent, to 1,775 pounds a tonne.

* Dealers pointed to light-volume buying by speculators inspired by a positive close in the prior session.

* They also noted a scarcity of high-quality Ivorian beans continued to lend support to nearby prices, with physical differentials strengthening further recently.

* One dealer pegged the premium for quality Ivorian beans at about 100 pounds above the May contract, compared to a typical spread of 70 pounds.

* "It's not a matter of volume here, it's a matter of quality," said one dealer. "There's a lack of good quality cocoa from the Ivory Coast."

* Market participants were awaiting first-quarter grind data from Europe and North America, due out next week, for signs of demand.

* Dealers forecast European figures rising 2 to 4 percent. North American grindings were seen little changed, with forecasts ranging between a slight decline to modest growth of up to 2 percent.


* May robusta coffee was down $6, or 0.4 percent, at $1,728 a tonne.

* May arabica coffee slipped 0.25 cent or 0.2 percent to $1.179 per lb. (Reporting by Ana Ionova, editing by Susan Fenton)