Robusta Coffee Advances on Top-Producer Vietnam; Sugar Rises

Robusta coffee climbed to the highest level in more than three months in London at a time farmers in top-producer Vietnam are holding back beans. Sugar rose.

Growers in Vietnam probably sold 40 percent of the 2012-13 harvest, less than the 45 percent a year earlier, according to the median of eight trader and shipper estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Farmers are holding back expecting higher prices after Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday that starts Feb. 10. Robusta coffee gained 4.4 percent last month.

“Overall a great monthly close, certainly something to build on further in February, and with Tet just around the corner, one has to remain a firm believer of more gains to come,” Sucden Financial Ltd., a futures broker in London, said in a report e-mailed yesterday.

Robusta coffee for March delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $2,023 a metric ton by 10:21 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London. The price touched $2,028 a ton in earlier trade, the highest since Oct. 26. Arabica coffee for March delivery was up 0.7 percent to $1.4795 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Coffee production in Vietnam may drop 15 percent to 1.41 million tons from a record 1.65 million tons last season, the Bloomberg survey shows. Sales there probably reached 570,000 tons. Robusta coffee gains last month were about double the 2.2 percent in arabica.

White, or refined, sugar for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $500.70 a ton on NYSE Liffe. Raw sugar for March delivery was little changed at 18.80 cents a pound on ICE.

Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to 1,430 pounds ($2,262) a ton in London. Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to $2,203 a ton in New York.