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Vietnam Coffee Exports May Gain 25% as Farmers Sell Beans

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Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee exports from Vietnam, the biggest shipper of robusta beans, may surge 25 percent this month as farmers release stockpiles held back from the country’s record harvest in a bid to boost prices.

Shipments may total 180,000 metric tons in February, compared with 144,000 tons a year earlier, preliminary data from the General Statistics Office showed today. Exports in January were revised 14 percent lower to 112,000 tons, and shipments for the first two months of 2012 were estimated at 292,000 tons, a decrease of 19 percent from a year earlier.

The gain in exports may help lower prices that rallied 14 percent this year as Vietnamese farmers withheld beans. Volcafe, the coffee unit of ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., said this month that shipments from Vietnam jumped 85 percent between Feb. 13 and Feb. 17, with exports after the local New Year break at a record.

Higher prices led to a wave of selling from farmers, Tran Tuyen Huan, general director at Asia Commodities Joint Stock Co. in Ho Chi Minh City, said by e-mail today. “Improved supply has caused higher shipping volume.”

The March-delivery robusta contract climbed 1.9 percent to $2,056 a ton on NYSE Liffe in London on Feb 24. The most-active price reached $2,174 on Feb. 16, the highest intraday level since Sept. 13.

Harvest Outlook

Vietnam’s 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).

Vietnam, the second-largest rice exporter, may ship 300,000 tons this month, compared with 256,000 tons in January, the GSO said today. Shipments for the first two months were estimated at 556,000 tons, a decrease of 46 percent from a year earlier, according to provisional data from the GSO.

Rubber shipments from the fourth-biggest exporter may total 110,000 tons this month, compared with 70,000 tons in January, the statistics office said. Exports in the first two months were estimated at 180,000 tons, up 49 percent from a year earlier.

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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