Domestic coffee prices edge down in Vietnam on coronavirus fears

By Reuters   March 13, 2020 | 12:43 am PT
Domestic coffee prices edge down in Vietnam on coronavirus fears
A man checks roasted coffee beans at a factory in Hanoi, Vietnam November 22, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam’s domestic coffee prices slipped this week due to growing concern over the coronavirus, while trading activity in Indonesia remained slow as traders await new supplies.

"Farmers have started to release beans as they worry about a cut in their profits after the WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic," said a trader based in the Central Highlands.

"But I think the coronavirus fears will not hit Vietnam’s coffee prices hard given the number of cases in the country is still low compared to the world," he added.

Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee-growing area, sold coffee at VND31,100 ($1.34) per kg versus VND 31,500 last week.

Although demand since the outbreak is not as high as it was, traders, exporters and roasters are still keen on Vietnamese robusta, traders said.

Vietnam exported 173,789 tonnes, or 2,896 60-kg bags, of coffee in February, up 19.8 percent from January, customs data showed on Wednesday.

May robusta coffee settled down $8 or 0.63 percent, at $1,271 per tonne on Wednesday.

Traders in Vietnam offered 5 percent black and broken grade 2 robusta at a premium of $160 per tonne to the January contract on Thursday, compared to last week’s range of $145-$155.

Meanwhile, traders in Indonesia’s Lampung province said Sumatran robusta beans were offered with a $300-$350 premium to the May contract while markets await for harvest.

"Trade is still as quiet as last week. Activities may pick up around April and May as the harvest is expected to start then," one of the traders said.

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