September 12, 2019 / 9:42 AM / 5 days ago

Asia Coffee-Vietnam quiet as farmers hold onto stocks amid low prices

HANOI/BANDAR LAMPUNG, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Coffee trading remained sluggish this week in Vietnam as farmers refused to sell at low prices, while Indonesia was stable as demand and supply stayed steady.

November robusta coffee recovered this week after it hit a nine-year low of $1,262 last Thursday, settling $11, or 0.8%, higher at $1,338 per tonne on Wednesday. However, it is still down about 13% this year.

Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee-growing area, sold coffee COFVN-DAK at 35,000 dong ($1.51) per kg.

“Domestic prices have stayed unchanged for the last six weeks,” said a trader based in the region. “The market is subdued as inventory has run very low and farmers refuse to sell at low prices.”

The next harvest season in Vietnam will begin next month but traders said it would not peak until mid-November.

With ideal weather condition and sufficient rain, coffee productivity in 2019/20 will likely be higher than in 2018/19, said a market analyst based in the Central Highlands.

However, output for the upcoming season won’t likely be higher as some farmers have replaced old coffee trees with fruit trees such as avocado and durian, he added.

Traders in Vietnam offered 5% black and broken grade 2 robusta COFVN-G25-SAI at $220 premium per tonne to the November contract on Thursday, compared with a $230 premium a week ago.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s grade 4 defect 80 robusta beans COFID-G4-USD were offered at a $180 premium to the November contract, flat from last week, a trader in the Sumatran province of Lampung said.

“Both supply and demand remained steady this week,” the trader said. “Some exporters still keep away from selling goods, as they are waiting for better prices.” ($1 = 23,207 dong) (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen in HANOI and Mas Alina Arifin in BANDAR LAMPUNG; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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