Vietnamese Coffee Sales Reached About 40% of Crop, Volcafe Says

Coffee farmers in Vietnam, the world’s largest producer of the robusta variety, have sold about 40 percent of the crop ending Sept. 30, according to Volcafe, the coffee unit of commodities trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd.

Growers in the Southeast Asian nation had been holding back beans before the Tet festival, which marks the Lunar New Year, awaiting better prices. Vietnam’s coffee exports may increase this month as good weather helps beans to dry and the holiday ends, said traders and officials. The sales pace may slow after February as farmers wait for price direction, said Le Tien Hung, deputy director of Sept. 2nd Import-Export Co., known as Simexco, based in Dak Lak the biggest growing province.

“Liffe and disciplined farmer selling prevented a sell-off in Vietnam,” Volcafe said in a report e-mailed to clients today. “External demand is good for all qualities.”

Vietnamese coffee for shipment in March and April was at a premium of $20 a metric ton to the price on the NYSE Liffe exchange in London, down from $40 a ton last week, data from the Winterthur, Switzerland-based trader show.

Indonesian imports of Vietnamese beans are “picking up to satisfy the local roaster demand,” according to the report. Output in the third-largest robusta grower fell to 8.3 million bags of 60 kilograms (132 pounds) in the 2011-12 season from 9.3 million bags a year earlier after rains damaged the crop, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

Indonesia is the fourth biggest importer of Vietnamese coffee, Volcafe said in the report.

Robusta coffee for March delivery rose 1.8 percent to $1,833 a ton by 1:53 p.m. in London.

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