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Coffee Crop in Vietnam Seen Dropping 20% as Rains Damage Flowers

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Robusta coffee production in Vietnam, the world’s largest grower, may decline as much as 20 percent next year after rains damaged flowers and as aging trees trim output, the Vietnam Coffee & Cocoa Association said.

Rains in the Central Highlands during the flowering stage hurt crop prospects and early blossoming coincided with the harvesting of the 2011-2012 crop, the organization known as Vicofa said on its website today. The number of trees older than 20 years, which are half as productive as young trees, will rise to 30 percent of the total next year, it said.

“Due to abnormal weather developments, coffee trees have been flowering during harvesting and continuous rains caused difficulties for flowers to become fruits,” Vicofa said. “It will have a negative impact on the yield and output from the 2012-2013 crop.”

Production will rise to 20.6 million bags in the 12 months to Sept. 30 from 18.75 million a year earlier, a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Dec. 13. A bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds). Vicofa did not forecast the output for the 2012-2013 season.

A smaller crop in Vietnam may support a 13 percent rally in robusta futures in London this year. The March-delivery robusta contract fell 0.5 percent to $2,045 a ton on NYSE Liffe in London at 5:25 p.m. Hanoi time. The most-active contract reached $2,174 on Feb. 16, the highest intraday level since Sept. 13.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Heath in Hanoi at nheath2@bloomberg.net

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

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