LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - New York cocoa futures on ICE rose to their highest since late September on Wednesday, supported by low exchange stocks, while arabica coffee climbed to a two-month peak as Storm Iota caused devastation in Central America.
* March New York cocoa was up $5, or 0.2%, at $2,522 a tonne at 1218 GMT after rising to a peak of $2,541, the highest since late September.
* Dealers said the market was boosted by nearby supply tightness, with front month December trading at a large premium to March CC-1=R.
* They noted exchange stocks had been declining following the introduction this season of a premium on physical purchases from Ivory Coast and Ghana designed to alleviate poverty among farmers in the West African countries.
* “The price gap between the front-month and second-month contracts has widened dramatically after ever more traders appear to be resorting to cocoa on the exchange so as to avoid the higher costs of Ivorian and Ghanaian product,” Commerzbank said in a note.
* March London cocoa was up 7 pounds, or 0.4%, at 1,711 pounds a tonne.
* March arabica coffee rose 1.35 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.2085 per lb after climbing to a two-month high of $1.2115.
* Dealers continued to keep a close watch on Storm Iota, which is devastating central America, a major producing region for arabica coffee.
* Unleashing torrential floods even as it weakened, Storm Iota churned through Central America on Tuesday, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks, flipping roofs onto streets and killing at least nine people across the region.
* January robusta coffee rose $21, or 1.5%, to $1,437 a tonne.
* March raw sugar was up 0.14 cents, or 0.9%, at 15.45 cents per lb. The front month had peaked at 15.66 cents on Tuesday, its highest since mid-February.
* Dealers said poor crops in Thailand and the European Union and a lack of clarity over Indian exports had significantly tightened supplies.
* March white sugar was up $2.60, or 0.6%, at $417.90 a tonne. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Jan Harvey)
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