LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures rose to the highest level in almost two weeks on Thursday, while robusta coffee and London cocoa prices also edged up.
* July raw sugar was up 0.03 cents, or 0.3 percent, at 11.64 cents per lb at 1129 GMT after climbing to a peak of 11.67 cents, the highest for the front month since May 4.
* Dealers said the market was underpinned by dry weather in top grower Brazil and the continued switch to using more cane for ethanol rather than sugar production.
* “It seems for the first time since the end of Feb there has been a potential “story” for the sugar bulls,” said Thomas Kujawa, co-head of the softs department at Sucden Financial.
* “However, the continued dry weather forecasts will have to persist for some time to come before we witness a consensus shift and further negative Brazil crop revisions,” he added.
* August white sugar rose $2.90, or 0.9 percent, to$325.40 a tonne.
* July robusta coffee climbed $17, or 1.0 percent, to $1,754 a tonne.
* Dealers noted prices were supported by waning selling by Vietnamese producers, who are said to be well sold forward and willing to hold onto coffee at current levels.
* Differentials in Vietnam have firmed up this week as a result, one dealer said, moving to discounts of roughly $60-80 per tonne. Differentials collapsed to $100-120 earlier in the month.
* July arabica coffee rose 0.45 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $1.1775 per lb.
* Dealers said speculators were taking a breather, after pushing prices to 3-1/2 week lows earlier in the week, although the market remained vulnerable.
* “The funds are very much still not shaken out of their short position and are happy to sell rallies,” said another dealer. “And people see a lot of coffee availability.”
* Participants were also closely monitoring the Brazilian real, which has sharply weakened recently, spurring selling by producers and speculators.
* “The real is in a much weaker position so, from a Brazilian perspective, it’s attractive (to sell),” the dealer said. “What it has done is taken away any bullish momentum that might have been building on the back of short covering.”
* July New York cocoa fell $13, or 0.5 percent, to$2,717 a tonne, with the market around the middle of this week’s range of $2,629 to $2,849 in choppy conditions.
* July London cocoa rose 2 pounds, or 0.1 percent, to 1,897 pounds a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt and Ana Ionova; Editing by Mark Potter)