Robusta Coffee Rises to Two-Month High as Farmers Withhold Beans

Robusta coffee rose to a two-month high on speculation roasters will have to buy stockpiled beans as farmers withhold beans in Vietnam, the largest grower.

Vietnam’s coffee exports were 112,182 metric tons in January, down 48 percent from a year earlier, according to a report on Vietnam’s General Customs Department website today. Robusta coffee inventories in warehouses monitored by NYSE Liffe have been falling since July 11, according to exchange data.

“Coffee farmers are holding back 60 percent of their crop, waiting for better prices,” Lysu Paez, an analyst at Natixis SA in Paris, wrote in a report e-mailed yesterday. “This situation has been supportive for robusta prices.”

Robusta coffee for March delivery was unchanged at 1:34 p.m. in London after climbing as much as 2.6 percent to $2,000 a ton on NYSE Liffe, the highest price since Dec. 7.

Robusta coffee for March delivery became more expensive than the May contract yesterday for the first time since June 9, signaling limited supplies. Beans for March delivery are $41 a ton more than May-delivered coffee.

Options traders increased bets on higher prices by 25 percent this month, NYSE Liffe data show. Investors held 7,175 contracts giving the right to buy March coffee futures at $1,950 a ton as of Feb. 8. That was up from 5,725 lots on Jan. 31, when the March contract closed at $1,836 a ton. That was the most widely held call option for March, according to the data. The March options expire Feb. 15.

Inventories of robusta coffee with valid grading certificates in warehouses monitored by NYSE Liffe were 227,170 tons as of Feb. 26, down 46 percent from 417,420 tons on July 11, according to the exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at Ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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