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SOFTS-New York cocoa hits fresh 2019 lows, coffee hovers near lows

(Recasts throughout, updates prices; adds market activity, comments, ICE data, NEW YORK dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - New York cocoa futures on ICE fell on Thursday to 3-1/2-month lows, pressured by fund selling and plentiful supplies, while arabica coffee inched upward, hovering near contract lows.


* May New York cocoa settled down $11, or 0.5 percent, at $2,132 per tonne. The contract earlier fell to $2,113 per tonne, the lowest since Dec. 5.

* Dealers were watching the Dec. 5 low of $2,112 as support.

* Plentiful global supplies are weighing on the market, dealers said. Port arrivals at top grower Ivory Coast are about 11 percent higher than last year.

* Total open interest jumped by 6,747 lots on Wednesday to 265,825 lots, its highest since mid-October, ICE data show.

* Fund selling and new shorts were driving up open interest, a U.S. trader said.

* May London cocoa settled up 6 pounds, or 0.4 percent, at 1,620 pounds per tonne, after dipping to a Feb. 4 low of 1,609 pounds.


* May arabica coffee settled up 0.05 cent, or 0.05 percent, at 94.80 cents per lb, holding above the prior session's contract low of 94.35 cents.

* The contract has shed nearly 11 percent so far in 2019, weighed down by excess supplies, especially from top grower Brazil.

* "It's not over yet," said one U.S. trader of the price decline.

* Colombia's government will give an additional 60 billion pesos ($19.4 million) in aid to coffee farmers beset by low prices and struggling to make ends meet, the country's growers federation said.

* May robusta coffee settled up $8, or 0.5 percent, at $1,503 per tonne.


* May raw sugar settled down 0.24 cent, or 1.9 percent, at 12.5 cents per lb. This was the contract's third straight day of declines.

* Dealers continue to watch for the bearish possibility of increased production in India.

* "With solid scale up producer pricing in evidence in the 12.80s, and above, the highs have been declining," said James Liddiard, senior vice president at consultantcy Agrilion.

* The May contract had a high of 12.87 cents on Monday, 12.83 cents on Tuesday and 12.80 cents on Wednesday.

* Still, prices remain within their recent range, having traded largely between 12 and 13 cents per lb for the past three months.

* Brazilian center-south sugarcane millers are expected to increase crushing volumes in the season starting in April on the prospect of higher agricultural yields, sugar merchant Copersucar said.

* May white sugar settled down $2.80, or 0.8 percent, at $335.20 per tonne, after dipping to $335, an over one month low.

(Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in London; editing by Kirsten Donovan and G Crosse)