Oct 13, 2012

Vietnam - Vietnam new coffee crop on offer; trade cautious

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SINGAPORE – Trading houses offered beans from Vietnam's new crop at discounts to London futures this week, but Indonesian robustas returned to premiums despite a lack of interest from roasters, dealers said on Thursday.

Vietnam's grade 2, 5 percent black and broken beans from the latest harvest were valued at US$30 below London's January contract. There were no offers for new crop beans last week, but robustas from the recently-ended season fetched smaller discounts.

"Maybe you can put the old beans at minus $10. London went up last night but prices have fallen more than $140. It's a bit quiet," said a dealer in Singapore, who trades robustas from Vietnam and Indonesia.

London's January robusta contract ended $28 a tonne higher at $2,102 on Wednesday despite declines in New York arabica futures, but prices have dropped around 6 percent since hitting a 2-month last week as concerns over ample supply resurfaced.

Since futures and differentials move in opposite directions, sellers typically cut discounts whenever London futures drop. Vietnam's old crop beans were offered at $40 below futures last week.

Harvesting in top robusta producer Vietnam is expected to pick up pace late this month and peak in November, while the current crop is nearly over in Indonesia. The two countries account for about 23 percent of global output, according to the International Coffee Organization.

The ICO has revised up its forecast for 2011/12 world coffee output to 134.3 million 60-kg bags, partly due to climbing output in Vietnam.

In second-largest robusta producer Indonesia, Sumatran grade 4, 80 defect beans, which were last quoted at premiums in late September, stood at $20 above London futures. The beans were offered at discounts of $10 to $20 last week.

Buyers, however, were showing interest in $10 discounts.

"Mayora has decided to stop buying raw coffee from Lampung until next January because they are well covered for the next three months," said a dealer in Sumatra, referring to processed food producer PT Mayora Indah.

"But offers for 80 defects are now at plus $20 above London on an FOB basis. There are no more discounts because London prices have fallen continuously."

Indonesian coffee production in the 2012/13 season is forecast at 9.7 million bags, a rebound of 1.4 million due to favourable weather, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Week ahead

Vietnam's beans from the new crop could be offered at wider discounts next week as the harvest picks up, but robustas from the previous harvest could stay at the current level if London futures extend losses.

Almost 10 percent of the current crop in Vietnam has been harvested, according to coffee trader SW Commodities.


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