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Asia Coffee-Coronavirus worries weigh on prices in Vietnam

Friday, February 07, 2020, 10:28 GMT+7
Asia Coffee-Coronavirus worries weigh on prices in Vietnam
A woman collects coffee beans in Dak Song District, located in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, in December 2018. Photo: Thanh Yen / Tuoi Tre

HANOI/BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia -- Vietnam’s domestic coffee prices fell slightly this week due to growing concern over a coronavirus epidemic in China, while trading activity remained subdued in Indonesia on scarce supply, traders and exporters said on Thursday.

Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee-growing area, sold coffee COFVN-DAK at VND30,800-31,000 (US$1.33-1.34) per kg, lower than the VND31,000-31,500 range a week ago.

“Domestic prices fell this week in line with global fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus,” said a trader based in the coffee belt.

“But I think the epidemic may ultimately have more impact on sentiment than be a lasting negative for the markets,” the trader said, adding Vietnam reported only 10 cases of the virus so far compared with more than 28,000 in China.

May robusta coffee settled down $6, or 0.47 percent, at $1,284 per metric ton on Wednesday, its lowest level in three months, Refinitiv data showed.

Weak coffee prices have also discouraged many farmers from providing adequate care to trees, another trader said, noting the 2019/20 crop may face drought due to lack of rainfall.

Traders in Vietnam offered five percent black and broken grade 2 robusta COFVN-G25-SAI at $130 premium per tonne to the May contract on Thursday, compared with last week’s $80-$90 premium.

In Indonesia’s Lampung province, Sumatran robusta were offered with a premium range of $250-$350 to May contract, according to two traders.

That compared with $240 to $250 premium to March contract offered last week.

“Trade this week is even quieter than last week. Coffee stock is getting lower and lower,” a Lampung, Indonesia-based trader said.

“There should be some coffee harvest in Lampung but supply is still scarce. We are getting some supply from Bengkulu,” another trader said, referring to a province neighbouring Lampung.

Main robusta harvest in Sumatra typically falls near middle of the year, but some areas often have mini harvests a few months earlier.



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