* Dry weather in West Africa helps boost cocoa prices
* Rise in Brazil’s real supportive for sugar, arabica coffee
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures rose to an eight-week peak on Thursday on the prospect of tightening supplies while arabica coffee and cocoa also advanced.
May raw sugar was up 0.03 cent or 0.2 percent at 14.70 cents a lb at 1142 GMT after earlier climbing to an eight-week high of 14.75 cents.
Dealers said a strengthening in Brazil’s real currency against the dollar had helped to fuel this week’s upward move in prices.
“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 added in a market note.
May white sugar rose $1.70 or 0.4 percent to $416.40 per tonne.
Brazil is also the world’s top coffee producer and the strength of its currency has also helped arabicas to hold above contract lows despite overall ample supplies.
May arabica coffee was up 0.30 cent, or 0.3 percent, at $1.1585 per lb after finding support on both Tuesday and Wednesday just above its contract low of $1.1335.
May robusta coffee was off $2 or 0.1 percent at $1,389 a tonne.
London cocoa futures rose as the market crept back up towards a four-week high set earlier this week following a modest setback during the last couple of sessions.
Dealers said concerns that dry weather could curb West African mid-crops this season remained the main supportive factor.
“Drier weather in West Africa is still keeping the market on its toes,” one dealer said.
May London cocoa was 8 pounds or 0.4 percent higher at 2,198 pounds a tonne. The contract had risen to a four-week high of 2,224 pounds a tonne on Monday.
Dealers said sluggish demand was, however, helping to keep a lid on the market with some expecting world grindings may rise this season by less than the 1.9 percent projected by the International Cocoa Organization last week.
“I‘m still a bit worried about global demand,” one dealer said, adding downward revisions to the consumption outlook could offset any mid-crop driven production cuts.
May New York cocoa was up $15 or 0.5 percent at $2,963 a tonne. (Editing by David Evans)