Vietnam's coffee farmers selling stocks in small lots

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Coffee farmers in Vietnam, the world's second-largest producer, are selling their stocks in small lots to take advantage of price fluctations, with many waiting for prices to rise above VND40,000 ($1.92) per kg, traders said on Tuesday.

"They only sell a few kg at a time to buying agents, whenever they need cash, instead of large volumes in the past," a trader at a foreign company in Ho Chi Minh City said. Vietnam is the world's biggest producer of the robusta variety.

Robusta eased to VND39,400-39,600 ($1.9) per kg on Tuesday in Daklak, Vietnam's largest coffee growing province, from VND39,800 on January 18, which was the highest in more than two months, based on Reuters data.

Tuesday's prices, compared with VND39,000-39,500 a week ago, dropped after the March futures contract settled $6 lower at $1,970 a ton on Monday.

Discounts for Vietnamese robusta grade 2, 5 percent black and broken beans were offered by exporters at $20-$30 a ton to the March contract, against $30 last Tuesday, while bids by foreign buyers stood at $35-$40 a ton.

Traders said several exporters are already using the May contract instead of the March contract and offering discounts of $30 a ton for loading next month.

February loading is likely to start around February 18 as Vietnam will close all markets between February 9 and February 17 to mark Tet, or the Lunar New Year festival.

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