* Sluggish demand stalls cocoa advance
* Stronger real likely to curb Brazil sugar supply (Adds comment, updates prices)
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures rose to a two-month high on Thursday and coffee also advanced boosted by the prospect of lower exports from major producer Brazil as a result of a strengthening in the country’s currency.
“This makes it less attractive for Brazilian sugar exporters to sell sugar on the world market. At the same time, this could see more sugar cane being turned into ethanol, which is consumed mainly on the domestic market,” Commerzbank said.
“On balance, this means less sugar supply from Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter,” the bank said in a note on the market.
Brazil’s real had been boosted this week partly by better-than-expected trade data.
May raw sugar was up 0.06 cent or 0.4 percent at 14.73 cents a lb by 1448 GMT after earlier climbing to a two-month high of 14.79 cents.
May white sugar rose $4.10 or 1.0 percent to $418.80 per tonne.
A stronger Brazilian real has also made sales of arabica coffee on the dollar-denominated global market less attractive to Brazilian producers and helped futures to rebound after they tested support just above contract lows.
May arabica coffee was up 3.10 cents, or 2.7 percent, at $1.1865 per lb after finding support on both Tuesday and Wednesday just above its contract low of $1.1335.
May robusta coffee was $2 or 0.1 percent lower at $1,389 a tonne.
London cocoa futures extended their retreat from a four-week high set earlier this week as expectations of sluggish demand helped to offset the prospect of lower mid-crops in West Africa.
“I‘m still a bit worried about global demand,” one dealer said, adding there was little sign of any significant rebound this season after a decline of about four percent in world grindings in the 2014/15 season.
Dealers said grindings might rise this season at a slower rate than the 1.9 percent projected by the International Cocoa Organization last week.
“The big growth areas (for cocoa demand) are all struggling,” one dealer said, referring to difficult economic environments in the Far East, Middle East and eastern Europe.
May London cocoa was 9 pounds or 0.4 percent lower at 2,181 pounds a tonne. The contract had risen to a four-week high of 2,224 pounds a tonne on Monday.
May New York cocoa was off $2 or 0.1 percent at $2,946 a tonne. (Editing by David Evans and Jane Merriman)