LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar futures were flat on Friday but headed for nine straight weeks of gains as funds were expected to start building long positions in the sweetener amid tightening supplies.
* March raw sugar slipped 0.02 cents, or 0.2%, to 13.53 cents per lb at 1219 GMT, having hit a more than one-year high of 13.67 cents last week.
* Funds have now largely covered a net short position which exceeded 200,000 lots in early November.
* Dealers said they look likely to build a net long position given tightening supplies and positive macro economic factors like a stronger Brazilian real and improving crude oil prices. They are taking a measured approach to buying however, as producer selling into price rallies remains relatively heavy.
* A global deficit is widely expected in the current 2019/20 season. Rabobank said in a report this week it now sees the deficit for this season at 8.2 million tonnes.
* March white sugar fell $0.20, or 0.1%, to $358.30 a tonne, having hit its highest since February earlier.
* March arabica coffee fell 0.3 cents, or 0.2%, to $1.2695 per lb.
* The contract rose to a peak of $1.3840 on Tuesday, the highest in more than two years, but has slid nearly 10% since then in volatile, holiday-thinned trade.
* Prices have gained some 35% since mid-October, supported by fund buying amid tightening supplies, with exchange arabica stocks falling KC-TOT-TOT and a global deficit widely forecast for the 2019/20 season.
* “I think the increase was overstated. If you look at inventory levels, there’s still enough coffee to service demand so prices are slowly softening again,” said Casper Brugering, analyst at ABN Amro.
* March robusta coffee was up $7, or 0.5%, at $1,374 a tonne.
* March New York cocoa was down $8, or 0.3%, at $2,426 a tonne, having hit its lowest since Oct. 10.
* March London cocoa was flat at 1,754 pounds a tonne, having hit its lowest since Sept 16. (Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)