Coffee prices rise on output jitters

The price of robusta coffee beans reached a 11-year high of 33,200 VND per kg last week in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak, the country’s coffee hub.

Van Thanh Huy, chairman of the Viet Nam Cocoa and Coffee Association (Vicofa), said the price hike was caused by a sharper-than-expected fall in output in Viet Nam , the world’s biggest producer of robusta. Bad weather has been blamed for the low output.

The forecast had been for a harvest of 1-1.1 million tonnes but the actual yield was only 850,000 tonnes, he said. “Dak Lak’s output fell from 435,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes.”

Industry experts in the province also predicted that the price would continue to rise beyond 35,000 VND.

Globally, there is likely to be a shortage of 80,000-112,000 tonnes of robusta beans. Huy said as a result the price of robusta coffee on the London market had risen to 2,250 USD per tonne in the last few days, and to between 2,150 and 2,200 USD in HCM City.

Le Duc Thong, director of the Dak Lak-based 2/9 Import and Export Company, pointed out another reason for the price hike.

Many coffee growers wanted to hoard their harvest in the hope of realising even higher prices later, he said.

This had partly contributed to the short supply on the domestic and world markets, he said, adding, “My company has only managed to buy 70 percent of the volume of coffee it had bought by the same time last year.”

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