SOFTS Raw sugar climbs to two-week high as oil hits seven-year peak

NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE hit the highest price in two weeks on Tuesday, buoyed by crude oil price strength that could lead to more cane being used to make biofuel ethanol rather than sugar.

SUGAR

* March raw sugar settled up 0.35 cent, or 1.9%, at 18.66 cents per lb, after hitting the highest in two weeks earlier in the session at 18.79 cents/lb.

* Benchmark oil prices climbed to their highest since 2014 on Tuesday as possible supply disruption after attacks in the Mideast Gulf added to an already tight supply outlook.

* Higher energy prices could lead to smaller sugar output when the new crushing season starts in Brazil in a couple of months. Mills could divert more cane to ethanol making.

* Dealers said, however, that improving sugar production outlooks for Thailand and India should help to keep a lid on prices.

* March white sugar rose 0.5% to $510.70 a tonne.

COFFEE

* March arabica coffee settled down 0.05 cent at $2.396 per lb.

* Dealers said they were keeping a close watch on whether there is a significant rise in Brazilian production this year, an on-year in the country's biennial crop cycle.

* Brazil government crop agency Conab on Tuesday forecast coffee output would climb by 16.8% to 55.7 million 60kg bags.

* The agency said, however, that world coffee stocks would fall in 2021/22, keeping prices high even though production in Brazil is poised to rise.

* March robusta coffee fell $23, or 1.0%, at $2,195 a tonne.

COCOA

* March London cocoa settled down 10 pounds, or 0.6%, to 1,769 pounds per tonne​, retreating after the previous session's three-month high of 1,790 pounds.

* Dealers were awaiting cocoa grinding data, covering the fourth quarter of 2021, which should provide further evidence on the extent to which demand is rebounding after dipping in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The European grind is due to be released on Wednesday and the North American grind on Thursday.

* March New York cocoa fell $28, or 1.1%, to $2,631 a tonne.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and Nigel Hunt Editing by David Clarke, David Goodman and Sandra Maler

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