SOFTS-Cocoa advance stalls, arabicas dip towards contract lows
* Cane scarcity leads some Indian mills to shut early
* Firm dollar weighs on arabica coffee prices
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - London cocoa futures eased on Wednesday, retreating slightly from a four-week high set earlier this week, although the market was underpinned by the prospect of poor mid-crops in both Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Arabica coffee futures also dipped, nearing contracts lows set in January while raw sugar edged higher.
Dealers said the sterling-denominated London cocoa market had been buoyed recently by a decline in the value of Britain's currency to a seven-year low against the dollar.
"London has been able to find some footing above 2,150 pounds while New York is still struggling to get through $3,000 which is psychologically quite a key level," one London-based dealer said.
May London cocoa was 15 pounds or 0.7 percent lower at 2,179 pounds a tonne by 1303 GMT. The contract had risen to a four-week high of 2,224 pounds a tonne on Monday.
Dealers said a severe Harmattan wind was expected to reduce the size of the April to September mid-crop in Ivory Coast to around 450,0000 tonnes, down from last year's 514,000 tonnes. Continuación...