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SOFTS-Raw sugar rises after falling to 7-1/2-month low; coffee up

(Recasts with updated prices, market activity, comments, ICE data, adds NEW YORK to dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - Raw sugar futures on ICE rose on Tuesday, supported by a firmer currency in top-grower Brazil, after earlier falling to their lowest levels in 7-1/2 months; while the stronger Brazilian real also helped lift arabica coffee prices to a three-week high. SUGAR * July raw sugar settled up 0.19 cent, or 1.6%, at 11.81 cents per lb, after earlier dipping to a 7-1/2-month low of 11.36 cents. * Prices were buoyed by speculative short-covering on the back of a firmer currency in top-grower Brazil, dealers said. * Speculators hold a massive net short position in raw sugar. Last week, their net short position stood at an eight-month high. * Total open interest climbed on Monday to reach over 1 million lots, the highest since early September, ICE data show. * The Brazilian real was firmer on Tuesday, after falling in the previous session to its weakest levels against the U.S. dollar since September. * A firmer real can discourage producer selling of dollar-denominated commodities like sugar and coffee. * Still, fundamentals, especially large global stockpiles, are likely to continue to limit potential gains and keep a lid on the market, dealers said. * Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday it has reached an agreement with China on tariffs applied to Brazilian sugar imports and will no longer ask a World Trade Organization panel to solve the issue. * August white sugar settled up $3.10, or 1%, at $326.30 per tonne. COFFEE * July arabica coffee futures settled up 3 cents, or 3.3%, at 92.90 cents per lb and touched a nearly three-week peak of 93.35 cents. * The contract has settled higher in four of the past five sessions. * Like raw sugar, arabica was also higher on a short-covering rally on the back of a stronger real. * Also lending support were concerns about cold, potentially crop-damaging weather developing in southern Brazil, dealers said. * July robusta coffee settled up $30, or 2.3%, at $1,364 per tonne. COCOA * July New York cocoa settled up $59, or 2.5%, at $2,446 per tonne after trading up to $2,453, the highest in nearly six weeks. * July London cocoa settled up 28 pounds, or 1.6%, at 1,771 pounds per tonne. * Below-average rainfall last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions has raised concerns for the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday. (Reporting by Ayenat Mersie in New York and Nigel Hunt in London; editing by Alexander Smith and Lisa Shumaker)

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