* Indonesian premiums rise to $170, highest since May
* Vietnamese beans sold at $30 discounts
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, Nov 30 Premiums for Indonesian
robusta jumped this week to their highest since May as supply
scarcity ahead of the new crop began to affect exporters, but
Vietnamese beans changed hands at discounts to futures, dealers
said on Friday.
The harvest ended in October in Indonesia, the world's
second-largest robusta producer after Vietnam, and dealers
awaited a smaller crop to start in December or January. The main
harvest is still a few months away in April or May.
Sumatran grade 4, 80 defect beans were quoted at premiums of
$150 to $170 to London's January contract, higher than
$100 last week, with no reports of deals. Vietnamese beans were
traded this week at $30 discounts to London futures.
"People who still have the 80-defect beans are holding back
their stocks. I would say the premium is at least $150," said a
dealer in Singapore.
"It's crazy in Indonesia. Most trading houses are short, and
they are also oversold. I believe this problem will last until
February," said the dealer, adding that exporters were
struggling to fulfill contracts.
Favourable weather helped Indonesia produce more bigger
beans, or the Extra Large Bean variety, in its recent crop, but
most roasters and processed food producers are still chasing the
commonly traded 80 defects beans.
Indonesia's coffee output could rise nearly 13 percent in
the year to September 2013, fuelled by improving weather, while
rising demand from local roasters is likely to boost consumption
and push up imports, a Reuters survey shows.
"The price for ready stock beans is going up because supply
is limited. But only those who are desperate will be buying
beans at the current premiums," said another dealer in
"Vietnam's differentials are pretty similar. We purchased
Vietnamese beans at $30 under London yesterday. Demand from
European roasters is still there. The price is competitive,
compared to Indonesian beans."
Vietnam grade 2, 5 percent black and broken beans were
offered at $30 to $70 below London's January contract last week.
Vietnam harvested a record crop of about 1.6 million tonnes in
the recently ended 2011/2012 season on higher yields and as new
areas became productive.
Vietnam and Indonesia account for about 23 percent of global
output. Robusta is either blended with arabica beans for a
lower-cost brewed coffee or processed into instant coffee.
Indonesian robusta could stay at current levels next week
because of limited supply, which may prompt some consumers to
turn to Vietnam.
"People are not buying Indonesian beans at current premiums.
They prefer to wait. If they can replace the beans with Vietnam
robustas, then why not?" said the first dealer in Singapore.
London's January robusta coffee futures inched up
$3, or 0.2 percent, to close Thursday at $1,938 a tonne,
tracking gains in New York's arabica futures.
Arabica futures are the weakest performer on the Thomson
Reuters-Jefferies CRB index in 2012, having lost
around 35 percent from the end of 2011.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)