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SOFTS-Arabica plunges to 13-1/2-year low, cocoa up on demand signals

(Recasts throughout; updates prices; adds market activity, comments, adds NEW YORK to dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE fell to a 13-1/2-year low on Wednesday, weighed down by the continued supply glut and a weaker Brazilian currency, while London cocoa rose to a three-month high, buoyed by strong demand signals.

COFFEE

* July arabica coffee settled down 3.3 cents, or 3.6 percent, at 89.65 cents per lb, after falling to 89 cents, the lowest for the second month since September 2005.

* Last year's record-large crop in top-producer Brazil continues to weigh down the market and the approach of this year's harvest, which is expected to gather pace next month, was also bearish, dealers said.

* A weaker Brazilian currency also pressured prices, dealers said, as it can encourage the sale of dollar-denominated commodities. The real was at its weakest against the U.S. dollar in nearly three weeks.

* The contract has fallen nearly 15 percent so far this year.

* "It's a difficult market that shows no sign of imminent recovery," said one U.S. trader.

* July robusta coffee settled down $19, or 1.3 percent, at $1,412 per tonne.

COCOA

* July London cocoa settled up 48 pounds, or 2.8 percent, at 1,783 pounds per tonne after climbing to 1,785 pounds, its highest since Jan. 3.

* Prices were buoyed by stronger-than-expected data on cocoa grindings, an indicator of demand, dealers said.

* Asian cocoa grindings rose 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019 year on year, data from the Cocoa Association of Asia showed.

* The news followed a 3.3 percent rise in the European figures, reported on Tuesday.

* North American data was set for release on Thursday.

* Dealers noted that the market's structure was also a supportive signal, with front month May trading at a premium of around 80 pounds to July <LCC-1=R> with talk about tightness in available supplies to tender.

* July New York cocoa settled up $57, or 2.4 percent, at $2,403 per tonne.

* Output from second-biggest producer Ghana is expected to drop six percent this season, sources at the country's cocoa regulator said.

SUGAR

* May raw sugar settled down 0.16 cent, or 1.3 percent, at 12.35 cents per lb.

* The market lacked a clear trend with prices near the middle of this month's range of between 12.29 and 12.84 cents.

* August white sugar settled down $3.50, or 1 percent, at $332.40 per tonne.

* The whites premium <LSU-SB1=R> remained weak, hurting the profitability of standalone refineries, dealers noted.

* French sugar maker Cristal Union will close two sugar factories in France, French newspaper L'Opinion said on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in London; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)