ZURICH Starbucks (SBUX.O) expects coffee prices to pull back from a 34-year high, John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee International, was quoted on Friday as saying.
"We think that these prices are not based on facts given there is no supply problem," Culver told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in an interview published on Friday. "Speculators are at work here."
ICE July arabica contract hit a 34-year peak of $3.0890 a lb on May 3 but has since cooled in a broad commodities market selloff.
"We do believe, however, that prices are going to fall again. For this year, we have locked our coffee costs but we watch the market closely," he said.
Culver also said the company wanted to more than triple the number of Starbucks cafes in mainland China, from 450 currently to 1,500 by 2015.
"China has huge potential for us. We will invest a lot there," he said.
(This story was corrected in the first paragraph to say coffee prices to fall, not
stopped buying coffee after newspaper amended quote.)
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by James Jukwey and Keiron Henderson)