Coffee Harvesting in Vietnam Delayed by Heavy Rain, Traders, Officials Say

Coffee harvesting in Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest producer, has been delayed by rains, according to officials and executives in Dak Lak, the biggest growing region. Robusta futures in London advanced.

The gathering, “which should have already started by now, was held back since farmers are waiting for the rains to stop,” Nguyen Van Sinh, deputy head of the agricultural department in Dak Lak, said by phone yesterday. “If they pick coffee now, they won’t be able to dry and store the beans.”

Vietnam is the world’s biggest grower of robusta, used in instant drinks and espressos, and the harvest delay may boost prices that have rallied 40 percent over the past year amid bad weather and global supply problems. Rains may last until about Nov. 10, the Dak Lak Hydrology and Meteorology Office said.

“Rains have delayed the crop’s harvesting for about a week already, causing beans to hit the market later than in previous years,” said Bui Hung Manh, head of the business department at Tay Nguyen Coffee Investment, Import and Export Co., the country’s biggest coffee exporter.

Robusta futures on NYSE Liffe in London touched $2,010 a metric ton on Nov. 1, the highest price since Oct. 3, 2008, according to Bloomberg data. The January-delivery contract rallied as much as 2 percent to $1,971 a ton today. Arabica has also surged, touching $2.046 a pound last month on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the highest level since August 1997.

Harvest Forecasts

Coffee output from Vietnam’s current harvest may drop by as much as 3 percent to 1.1 million tons, according to an Oct. 29 forecast from Nguyen Van An, a board member of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association.

A Bloomberg News survey of 10 growers, analysts and traders last month predicted an increase in the nation’s harvest to 1.2 million tons. Separately, officials in Dak Lak, Lam Dong and Gia Lai have all forecast gains in their regions.

The Dak Lak harvest may climb 5.3 percent to 400,000 tons this year, the agricultural department’s Sinh said last month. The province has about 180,000 hectares (444,780 acres) of coffee out of Vietnam’s total of 500,000 hectares.

Rainfall in Dak Lak in the first 10 days of this month will beat the average for same period in previous years, according to a Nov. 1 report from the Dak Lak Hydrology and Meteorology Office. “There’s no way farmers can pick coffee now,” Nguyen Dai Nguong, head of the weather office, said by phone yesterday. “There’s no flood in coffee areas though,” he said.

Rainfall in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of Dak Lak, totaled 254.8 millimeters last month, compared with 215.7 millimeters in October last year, according to weather office data.

“We don’t want to sign any export contracts now, since there is almost no coffee to buy in the local market,” said Le Duc Thong, general director of Dak Lak-based Sept 2nd Import- Export Co., Vietnam’s third-biggest coffee exporter. “We’ll wait a while to see how the weather and the harvest will be,” Thong said by phone yesterday.

--Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen. Editor: Jake Lloyd-Smith

To contact the reporter on this story: Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at uyen1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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