Nedcoffee sees Vietnamese coffee output sliding 14 pct in 2012-13

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Coffee production in Vietnam, the world's biggest producer of robusta beans, will fall 14 percent in the season started in October because of immature flowerings, according to Amsterdam-based trader Nedcoffee BV.

Farmers in the Southeast Asian nation will reap 1.393 million metric tons of coffee in 2012-13, down from 1.62 million tons a year earlier, the trader, which has offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, said in a monthly report e-mailed on Jan. 16. Nedcoffee's new crop estimate is 5.9 percent smaller than its previous forecast of 1.48 million tons.

The "bad impact" of immature flowerings "now appears larger than expected," Nedcoffee said. "The last bumper crop means the trees are in need of a small rest this year."

Vietnamese farmers sold about 30 percent of their coffee stockpiles by Jan. 1, the trader estimated. At the current pace, growers will probably sell about 40 percent of their production by Tet, the festival that marks Vietnam's Lunar New Year in February. Robusta coffee traded on NYSE Liffe has climbed 2.4 percent this year. The beans for March delivery were up 0.9 percent to $1,971 a ton by 5:23 p.m. in London.

"Farmers keep selling steadily into any upward movements of Liffe, but so far there has been nothing of a pre-Tet selling wave like we used to see a few crops back," Nedcoffee said.

Harvesting in Indonesia's southern Sumatra, the main growing region of the world's third biggest robusta producer, is already complete and 77 percent of the beans sold were delivered to the city of Bandar Lampung, Nedcoffee said.

Coffee shipments from the port of Panjang were 22,575 tons in December, while deliveries to all exporters in the area were 2,200 tons, confirming shippers' stockpiles "came down significantly," said Nedcoffee. The company has a factory there with milling capacity of 20 tons per hour, according to its website.

The weather in Indonesia has been "favorable" for bean development, and harvesting of the next crop will start by mid- March in most of the low-land regions and by the beginning of June for most of the highland areas, according to the report.

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