* Rise in coffee stocks at European ports as of January
* Cocoa trade eyes next week’s grind data
By David Brough
LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures hit a three-week peak on ICE on Wednesday on talk that that nearby supplies may be tightening, while arabica coffee and New York cocoa edged up in light volumes on a weaker dollar.
ICE raw sugar futures hit a session high of 12.95 cents a lb, the highest since March 18 basis front month, on concerns over limited supplies before the start of the cane harvest in centre-south Brazil this month.
Dollar weakness against a basket of currencies boosted the dollar-denominated softs complex, as positions in sugar, coffee and cocoa became cheaper in terms of other currencies.
“There is tighter availability for prompt shipment, and we’re seeing more short covering,” said Tracey Allen, commodity analyst with Rabobank.
Rains in major cane-growing areas in Brazil could delay the start of harvesting in some areas by around a week, she added.
May raw sugar futures on ICE traded up 0.15 cent, or 1.2 percent, at 12.92 cents a lb at 1123 GMT.
May white sugar was up $2.20, or 0.6 percent, at $369.00 per tonne.
Arabica coffee futures rose, supported by tighter than expected Colombian supplies after the National Coffee Growers’ Federation reported production of 800,000 60-kg bags of washed arabica coffee in March, down 3 percent from a year ago.
Carlos Mera, commodity analyst with Rabobank, said fluctuations in the Brazilian real currency could affect arabica futures prices later in the session.
A weaker real raises Brazilian producers’ incentives to lock in local currency returns from sales of dollar-denominated coffee and sugar.
Total coffee stocks held at European ports were up month-on-month as of January 31, standing at 695,233 metric tons, compared with 689,446 metric tonnes as of Dec. 31, data from the European Coffee Federation showed on Wednesday.
May arabica was up 0.95 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $1.4290 per lb.
London May robusta coffee futures traded up $6, or 0.3 percent, at $1,812 per tonne.
New York cocoa rose, buoyed by the weaker dollar, with traders focused on next week’s European grind data.
New York May cocoa futures were up $15, or 0.5 percent, at $2,800 a tonne, while London May cocoa traded down 2 pounds, or 0.1 percent, at 1,940 pounds a tonne. (Editing by Ruth Pitchford)