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India coffee prices drop as demand remains slow

MUMBAI, March 13 (Reuters) - Prices at the Indian Coffee Association’s Thursday auctions edged down with local buyers and exporters showing little interest, traders said.

“Exporters were selective on premium arabica plantation grades on offer whereas domestic trade continued to purchase quantities only for their immediate requirement,” said a trader from Bangalore.

New season arabica plantation grades sold at last week’s prices wheras arabica cherry coffee grades dropped by 50-100 rupees per 50 kg, he said.

“Large quantities of coffee remained unsold as sellers’ quoted prices higher than what buyers were willing to pay,” another trader said.

A few lots of robusta cherry grades exchanged hands, traders said. There were no robusta parchment coffee grades on offer at the auction, they noted.

In India, arabica coffee arrivals start in November and continue till February, while robusta arrivals begin from mid-January and continue through April.

The International Coffee Organization cut its estimate for world output in 2008/09 to 127.8 million 60-kg bags from a previous forecast of 133.4 million, mainly reflecting reduced estimates from Colombia, Vietnam and India. See: [nLA344493]

World production in 2007/08 was 116.5 million bags.

The total quantity on offer at the auction was 313.03 tonnes of which 61 tonnes were sold, an auctioneer said.

Following were the prices quoted for 50 kg bags in rupees.

Grade Price range

NEW SEASON (2008/09) CROP

ARABICA PLANTATION

PB 8,200

A 8,000-8,100

B 6,750-6,800

C 6,325-6,350

BBB 5,050-5,805

ARABICA CHERRY

PB 5,150

AB 5,400

C 4,550-4,600

Reporting by Nandita Bose; editing by Rohini Ananthan

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