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SOFTS-Arabica falls to new lows, sugar inches up

(Recasts throughout, updates prices; adds market activity, comments, ICE data, NEW YORK dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE rose on Friday, pressured by excess supplies and a weaker currency in Brazil, while raw sugar inched higher.


* May arabica coffee settled down 0.9 cent, or 1 percent, at 93.90 cents per lb after setting a fresh contract low of 93.65 cents.

* On the week, the monthly contract shed 3.9 percent. It has posted declines in seven of the past eight weeks.

* Prices have collapsed on excess supplies, especially from top grower Brazil which is forecast to have a massive 2019-20 crop despite it being the off-year in arabica's biennial crop cycle.

* A weakening of the Brazilian real also pressured prices, dealers said. A weaker real can encourage producer selling.

* "The real was the kiss of death for coffee today," said one U.S. trader.

* May robusta coffee settled down $9, or 0.6 percent, at $1,494 per tonne.


* May raw sugar settled up 0.07 cent, or 0.6 percent, at 12.57 cents per lb. On the week, the contract gained 0.4 percent.

* The market was supported by the prospect of a 2019-20 deficit, dealers said, with production set to fall in India, Thailand, and the European Union.

* Farmers in western Europe have begun sugar beet planting, with signs indicating a decline in area after a price slump on the end of European Union production quotas.

* Brazilian mills in the main cane belt, however, are expected to produce 7 percent more sugar in the new season starting in April, a Reuters poll showed.

* Dealers were awaiting weekly CFTC data, to be issued later on Friday, and closely watching the size of the speculative net short position.

* A larger-than-expected speculative net short in last week's report triggered a price rise on Monday.

* "We would be expecting a continuation of the recent trend and an increase in the net spec short position," said Thomas Kujawa, co-head of the softs department at Sucden Financial.

* May white sugar settled up 20 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $335.40 per tonne.


* May New York cocoa settled up $27, or 1.3 percent, at $2,159 per tonne, with prices buoyed by short-covering, dealers said.

* Total open interest climbed on Thursday by 5,128 lots to 270,953 lots, ICE data show, the highest since June.

* On the week, the contract shed 1.7 percent, its fifth straight week of declines.

* Prices have been pressured by plentiful supplies, especially from top grower Ivory Coast.

* May London cocoa settled up 8 pounds, or 0.5 percent, at 1,628 pounds per tonne.

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