Coffee Exports From Indonesia’s Sumatra Drop to Three-Month Low

Coffee shipments from Indonesia’s southern Sumatra, the main growing region in the world’s third-largest robusta producer, fell in December to the lowest level in three months as farmers held back sales because of low prices.

Exports from Lampung, Bengkulu and South Sumatra provinces declined 36 percent to 19,071 metric tons from 29,851 tons in November, data from Lampung’s trade and industry office showed today. Sales were 18,488 tons in September and 8,698 tons in December 2011.

Falling supplies from Indonesia may curb a 15 percent slump in prices from an eight-month high in May. Futures of the bitter-tasting robusta variety used in instant drinks and espressos have dropped in London as global supplies increased. Farmers worldwide will gather 56 million 60-kilogram bags in the 2012-2013, up from 53.3 million bags a year earlier, the International Coffee Organization estimates.

“Exporters were holding back on shipments waiting for higher prices,” said Mochtar Luthfie, head of research and development at the Lampung branch of the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industry. There are still about 50,000 tons of beans in warehouses in Lampung, he said.

Shipments from the three provinces, representing about 75 percent of Indonesia’s output, rose 2.5 percent in 2012 from a year earlier to 202,532 tons, according to Bloomberg calculation. Exports, which include robusta beans and instant coffee, were shipped from Panjang port in Lampung.

Total production across the country may rise to 763,000 tons this year from an estimated 657,138 tons in 2012, according to a Dec. 26 forecast by the agriculture ministry.

Robusta settled at $1,924 a ton on the NYSE Liffe in London on Dec. 31. Futures rose to $2,269 a ton in May, the highest level since September 2011.

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