* Up to 3,000 T of shipments may be delayed in April
* Sumatran premiums reach up to $100 despite harvest
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, April 24 Coffee exporters on
Indonesia's main growing island of Sumatra are likely to delay
shipment of up to 3,000 tonnes of beans in April after erratic
weather cut into supply at the season's peak, dealers said on
Although the volume is just a fifth of Sumatra's exports in
March, delays in shipments from second-largest robusta producer
Indonesia could further tighten supply in Asia, with rival
Vietnam having completed its harvest in December.
Indonesia and top robusta producer Vietnam together account
for nearly a quarter of the world's coffee output.
Indonesia's coffee output is forecast at 10.95 million 60-kg
bags, or 657,000 tonnes, in the year to September 2013, up from
8.62 million bags previously, the International Coffee
Four dealers in Indonesia and Singapore estimated between
2,000 and 3,000 tonnes of shipments could be postponed this
month as exporters who had signed contracts to sell forward
scrambled to get coffee, whose premiums stand at up to $100 to
London futures, their highest since January.
"Many exporters are overcommitted. There should be plenty of
delays in April, which could reach 3,000 tonnes," said a dealer
in Java, who trades Sumatran beans.
"If our forecast proves accurate, output could fall by 20
percent or even 25 percent. Daily arrivals have only reached 250
to 300 tonnes in the past two weeks and this is dangerous."
With beans from Vietnam also trading above the London
market, competition between the rivals could heat up because of
strong demand for instant coffee.
Exports of the robusta variety from Sumatra nearly tripled
in March from a year earlier, to 14,336.9 tonnes, trade data
An early start to the current harvest initially raised hopes
for an abundant crop after damage from heavy rain in the season
to September 2012 caused a severe shortage that drove premiums
to all-time highs at $550.
But dealers later said several plantations in Sumatra had
suffered from a lack of rain late in the flowering season last
year, and now, a heavy downpour was disrupting the harvest.
"It's been raining every day, which affects harvesting and
drying of the beans. I would say about 3,000 tonnes of shipments
could be delayed in April, and the quantity may even be higher
for delivery to the local market," said a dealer in Sumatra.
"Some exporters are overcommitted, and supply is short. The
impact is that local prices have become extremely expensive."
Sumatran beans normally sell at, or slightly below, London
futures, whenever the harvest peaks, as daily arrivals could
reach as much as 1,500 tonnes. The provinces of Bengkulu, South
Sumatra and Lampung in Sumatra make up 75 percent of Indonesia's
"A lot of exporters think the season should be in full swing
by May, but they don't see a lot of coffee coming from
plantations right now," said a dealer in Singapore, who trades
Indonesian and Vietnamese beans.
"Production should fall from last year by about 10 percent.
Premiums are now very subjective. They range from $20 to $90 a
tonne, depending on your perspective on the crop."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Indonesia has
a slightly different forecast from the ICO, estimating output to
rise 17 percent to 9.7 million bags in the season to September
2013, boosted by good harvest weather, while consumption grows
7.6 percent to 2.54 million bags.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)