Coffee Exports From Indonesia’s Sumatra Fall as Inventories Drop

Coffee shipments from Indonesia’s southern Sumatra, the main growing region in the third-largest producer, dropped 40 percent in March on depleting stockpiles.

Shipments from Lampung, South Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces, which mostly grow robusta, plunged to 14,337 metric tons last month from 23,912 tons in February, the Lampung trade and industry office said in statement today. Exports were 5,070 tons in March last year.

Falling supplies from Indonesia, the largest grower after Brazil and Vietnam, may help to sustain a 6.6 percent gain in the price of bitter-tasting robusta variety used in instant drinks and espresso this year. Robusta for May delivery fell 0.2 percent to $2,051 a ton on the NYSE Liffe in London on March 28.

“There aren’t too many beans left, only big foreign exporters still have stocks, but that’s also very limited,” said Mochtar Luthfie, head of research and development at the Lampung chapter of the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industry. “Supplies will gradually rise as harvest starts.”

The three provinces account for about 75 percent of sales from Indonesia. Coffee was shipped from Panjang port in Lampung. Indonesia’s harvest runs from April to July, with a smaller crop through September.

Shipments in the first three months of the year surged 154 percent to 45,460 tons from 17,887 tons a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the trade office.

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