Robusta Coffee Gains to One-Week High on Stockpiles; Cocoa Rises

Robusta coffee climbed to a one-week high in London as stockpiles remain low and farmers in Vietnam, the world’s largest grower of the variety, are not boosting sales even as the Tet holidays approach. Cocoa gained.

Vietnamese farmers are “under no pressure to sell further volumes at prices that do not suit them,” Volcafe, the coffee unit of trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., said in a report e-mailed Jan. 25. Growers there will sell about 40 percent of the crop before Tet, the Lunar New Year festival which starts Feb. 10, Nedcoffee BV estimates. They usually sell 50 percent, the Amsterdam-based trader said. Robusta coffee stockpiles have fallen 75 percent since reaching an all-time high in July 2011.

“London continues to hold due to low cert figures and a lack of available robusta,” Sucden Financial Ltd., a futures and options broker in London, said in a report e-mailed yesterday, referring to grading certificates.

Robusta coffee for March delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $1,976 a metric ton by 11:37 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London. The price touched $1,981 a ton in earlier trade, the highest since Jan. 24. Prices are up 2.7 percent in January. Arabica coffee for March delivery was up 0.1 percent to $1.479 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York and is heading for a 2.9 percent gain this month.

Robusta coffee stockpiles with a valid grading certificate in warehouses monitored by NYSE Liffe were 105,530 tons on Jan. 21, up 0.6 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data on the exchange’s website. Inventories reached a record 417,420 tons in July 2011.

Arabica Stocks

“New York on the other hand has plenty of certified stocks,” Sucden Financial said. “There is reported to be lots of arabica around and despite news of fungus affecting Central American stocks, the prices continue to fall.”

Arabica coffee inventories monitored by ICE were 2.6 million bags of as of yesterday, up 71 percent from a year earlier, exchange data on Bloomberg showed. Nations in Central America including Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are battling leaf rust, which is cutting their output.

White, or refined, sugar for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $494.80 a ton on NYSE Liffe. It’s down 5.5 percent this month. Raw sugar for March delivery was down 1 percent at 18.52 cents a pound on ICE Futures, bringing this month’s decline to 5.1 percent. Volumes traded on ICE were more than double the 100-day average for this time of day.

Cocoa for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to 1,429 pounds ($2,255) a ton in London and is set to be down 0.4 percent in January. Cocoa for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $2,188 a ton in New York and is heading for a 2.2 percent loss this month.

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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