Coffee Gains as Vietnam Growers Hold Supplies; Sugar Up

Robusta coffee futures rose in London as farmers in Vietnam, the biggest grower of the variety, are hanging onto their beans to obtain better prices. Sugar gained.

“Producers in Vietnam are holding back supplies to get higher prices for their crops,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, said by phone from Frankfurt today. “There are expectations that the Vietnamese crop will be much lower.”

Vietnamese coffee growers probably sold 40 percent of their crop ahead of the Tet Lunar New Year festival, compared with 45 percent a year earlier, based on the median of eight estimates from traders and shippers surveyed by Bloomberg.

Robusta for March delivery rose as much as 1.2 percent to $2,061 a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London, before trading at $2,056 at 11:36 a.m. Arabica coffee for delivery the same month added 0.6 percent to $1.4515 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Coffee production in Vietnam probably dropped in the September-December harvest period after less favorable weather conditions, according to Fritsch. Output may have dropped to 1.41 million tons from a record 1.65 million tons last season, according to Bloomberg’s survey.

White, or refined, sugar for March delivery traded in London rose 0.5 percent to $500.80 a ton, while raw sugar for delivery the same month advanced 0.5 percent to 18.83 cents a pound in New York.

India’s sugar production may fall to 21.5 million tons in the 12 months starting in November, from 24 million tons in the previous season, Carlos Murilo Barros de Mello, a managing director at Macquarie Group Ltd., said at an industry conference in Dubai today.

“Expectations are for lower sugar production in India in the coming crop year,” Fritsch said. “India may even become a net importer in 2013-14.”

Cocoa for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to 1,429 pounds ($2,252) a ton in London. Cocoa for delivery the same month gained 0.2 percent to $2,196 a ton in New York.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.