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Asia Coffee-Domestic prices in Vietnam inch higher as supplies run low

HANOI/BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia, May 28 (Reuters) - Coffee prices in Vietnam edged higher this week as farmers run down their inventories, while more stocks have started to arrive in Indonesia, traders said on Thursday.

Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam's largest coffee-growing area, sold coffee COFVN-DAK at 32,000 dong ($1.37) per kg, up from last week's 31,800 dong.

Farmers in Vietnam have sold 95-98% of beans harvested in the 2019/20 crop year that began on Oct. 1.

“Prices edged up this week as the inventory has run almost empty,” said a trader based in the Central Highlands.

“The prices now are too high for us. Only those who have to fulfil their signed contracts are buying at that price.”

The industry has been hit by a lack of demand during the coronavirus pandemic, although prices have started to pick up in the past two weeks, while farmers are also coping with a drought.

A second trader based in the coffee belt said the weather had improved with recent rains, but low prices had discouraged some farmers from taking care of already drought-affected trees.

July robusta coffee settled down $10, or 1%, at $1,232 per tonne on Wednesday.

Traders in Vietnam offered 5% black and broken grade 2 robusta COFVN-G25-SAI at $200-$220 premiums per tonne to the July contract, compared to a $200 premium last week.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia’s Lampung province, Sumatra robusta beans are being offered with a $290-$300 premium to the July contract, unchanged from a week ago.

New supply continues to come in, one trader said, adding that he expects to see volumes increase around mid-June as more areas around Lampung in Sumatra island start their harvest.

$1 = 23,300 dong Reporting by Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Mas Alina Arifin in Bandar Lampung; editing by Richard Pullin