Coffee bears take over robusta before Vietnam's next harvest

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Money managers turned bearish on robusta coffee traded in London in the latest week as Vietnam, the world's biggest producer of the variety, is set to harvest a record crop in the coming season.

Investors had a net-short position, or bet on lower robusta prices, of 2,431 futures and options for the week ended Aug. 27, the Commitments of Traders report published today on the NYSE Liffe exchange's website showed. That reversed a net-long position of 1,191 contracts in the prior period. The beans used to make instant coffee fell 4.2 percent in the week ended Aug. 27.

Vietnam's robusta crop probably will rise 17 percent to a record 1.7 million metric tons in the 2013-14 season starting Oct. 1, the median of nine estimates from local traders and shippers compiled by Bloomberg last month showed. That implies a harvest of 28.3 million bags, each weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds). Volcafe, a unit of commodities trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., on Aug. 30 predicted a 30 million-bag crop.

In cocoa, money managers' net-long position fell to 54,310 futures and options from 54,382 contracts a week earlier. The beans used to make chocolate slid 1.9 percent in the period as rains were forecast to return to West Africa, the world's biggest grower, potentially easing dryness that had threatened to reduce the next crop.

In white, or refined, sugar, money managers' net-long position rose to 11,504 futures and options from 11,218 lots a week earlier. The sweetener fell 1.9 percent in the period.

In feed wheat, money managers increased their net-short position to 623 contracts from 493 lots a week earlier. The grain advanced 4.7 percent in the period.

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