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6 November 2009

Low prices hit Vietnam coffee shipments

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Vietnam’s coffee exports are expected to drop 10 percent in value this year as prices have fallen by up to $500 per ton versus last year, quoted an industry official as saying.

Although Vietnam may ship more than 1 million tons of coffee abroad in 2009, earnings are forecast at $1.8 billion, down from $2.02 billion last year, Chairman Luong Van Tu of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association said in a report on Voice of Vietnam News this week.

Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest coffee grower, exported 948,000 tons of coffee through October this year, 17 percent more than the same period in 2008, according to the General Statistics Office. The value of the exports, however, declined 17% to $1.4 billion.

Tu said his association has requested the government to set up a fund for stabilizing coffee prices. The government should use the fund to help exporters stock coffee and keep prices stable, he said.

The fund would also help Vietnam’s coffee exporters have better control over prices in the global market, Tu said.

Robusta coffee fell for a third day on Thursday in London on speculation Vietnam’s crop escaped damage from Typhoon Mirinae.

Prices have dropped 2.6 percent since Mirinae landed November 2 in Vietnam, the world’s largest producer of robusta beans used in espresso and blends. The local robusta harvest for the current season that started October 1 will be 19.1 million bags, or 35 percent of global output, BNP Paribas Fortis said October 29.

Vietnam’s crop was “not particularly” damaged, said Ralph Hawes, head of the coffee desk at brokerage Sucden Financial Ltd. in London. “There’s no particular reason to get bullish on robusta.”

Robusta for January delivery dropped $3, or 0.2 percent, to $1,444 a ton on the Liffe exchange at 11:50 a.m. local time. Prices have declined 6.6 percent this year. Milder arabica coffee for December delivery was little changed at $1.4075 a pound on ICE Futures US in New York.


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