Vietnam starts futures trading at coffee exchange

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Vietnam started futures trading at its only coffee exchange last Friday, said Nguyen Tuan Ha, director of the Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Exchange in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

Futures trading at the exchange will help local traders and growers to shift from physical contracts, while safeguarding profits, as well as attract financial investment, the exchange said on its website.

"We expect futures trading will draw many investors, and eventually boost exports of physical beans," said Vo Thanh Chau, deputy head of the exchange. "We set the price in dong, so traders can avoid the risks of the dong depreciating against the dollar."

The exchange was opened in December 2008 by the Dak Lak People's Committee, Vietnam Technological & Commercial Joint-Stock Bank, known as Techcombank, and Thai Hoa Joint Stock Co., one of Vietnam's three biggest coffee exporters.

The exchange faces "big challenges," according to Thomas Weiske, director of coffee trader Neumann Gruppe Vietnam Ltd., a unit of Neumann Kaffee Gruppe.

"Most international traders have to use London," he said in an interview, referring to the NYSE Liffe exchange. "So far there isn't a good argument not to. You can hedge in London."

The Vietnamese exchange will be good for Vietnamese companies making transactions in dong, people conducting small-volume trades and farmers who can't access the London exchange, he said.

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