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SOFTS-Coffee falls to new lows, New York cocoa hits 2019 low

(Recasts throughout; updates prices, adds market activity, comments, ICE data, NEW YORK dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE fell to new lows on Wednesday, as a global surplus weighed, while New York cocoa fell to three-month lows. While coffee prices have been low, Brazilian growers are largely able to produce at these levels, Brazil's farm minister told Reuters.


* May arabica coffee settled down 1.9 cents, or 2 percent, at 94.75 cents per lb. The monthly contract touched a new contract low of 94.35 cents per pound.

* Prices have closed lower four of the past five sessions.

* The market has been weighed down by surplus supplies, especially from top grower Brazil, dealers said.

* While prices are indeed low, Brazilian growers are largely able to produce at these levels, Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias told Reuters in an interview.

* "There are regions of coffee production that suffer more than others. But it's not a great problem today for business."

* A proposal by the Colombian coffee growers' federation that producer countries sell their high-quality harvests untethered from New York market price could encourage buyers to look for alternative providers, importers and exporters said.

* May robusta coffee settled down $13, or 0.9

percent, at $1,495 per tonne, giving up some of the previous session's gains.


* May New York cocoa settled down $59, or 2.7 percent, at $2,143 per tonne, after touching $2,137, the lowest since Dec. 12.

* "Cocoa futures fell towards the lower end of the trading range seen for the past eight months, as speculative selling pressured prices," said Eric Bergman, vice president at JSG Commodities.

* Total open interest climbed to a four-month high of 259,078 lots on Tuesday, ICE data show.

* Dealers said prices were pressured by plentiful supplies in top grower Ivory Coast, where port arrivals have been about 11 percent higher than last year.

* May London cocoa settled down 36 pounds, or 2.2 percent, at 1,614 pounds per tonne. Earlier, the contract touched a more than six-week low of 1,612 pounds.

* Ghana's Cocobod signed a $300 million three-year loan with several international lenders on Tuesday to refinance central bank-raised cocoa bills and finance production enhancement programs, one of the lenders said in a statement.


* May raw sugar settled down 0.04 cent, or 0.3 percent, at 12.74 cents per lb.

* The upward revision of Indian production by about 1 million tonnes has been a bearish factor, analyst Robin Shaw of Marex Spectron said.

* The prospect of a deficit developing in 2019-20 helped underpin the market, dealers said, with Rabobank forecasting a 4.3 million-tonne deficit.

* May white sugar settled down $3.80, or 1.1 percent, at $338 per tonne.

(Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in London; editing by Jan Harvey, Edmund Blair and Jonathan Oatis)