SOFTS-Coffee slips from 2-year high, sugar up
* Robusta versus arabica price difference widens
* Industry buying underpins cocoa (Adds trade comment, updates prices)
By Sarah McFarlane
LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE eased off a two-year high on Thursday, with uncertainty over the extent of damage to top grower Brazil's crop from dry weather keeping market participants on edge.
Unseasonably dry weather in January and February has propelled arabica coffee prices around 76 percent higher since the start of the year.
ICE second-month arabica futures slipped 3.5 cents or 1.7 percent to $1.99 per lb as of 1317 GMT.
"The question is how do you factor in the uncertainty of what will be next year's crop," said Alex Parry, coffee broker at ABN AMRO, referring to the effects of the drought.
"It's an immensely difficult subject to quantify and I think it's part of the reason you've seen a pickup in the options open interest."
Robusta coffee prices have also jumped, although their move was not of the same magnitude, having risen around 25 percent since the start of the year. This has widened the difference in price between the two coffee varieties. Continuación...