ASIA COFFEE-Vietnam prices rise on high demand, low supplies

By Phuong Nguyen and Mas Alina Arifin

HANOI/BANDAR LAMPUNG, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Vietnam coffee prices rose this week on higher exporter demand after the Lunar New Year, but some farmers are still holding on to beans in hope for higher prices, traders said on Thursday.

Farmers in the central highlands, Vietnam's largest coffee-growing area, were selling beans COFVN-DAK for 81,600-82,500 dong ($3.32-$3.36) per kg, up from 78,900-79,200 dong last week.

"Demand is high as exporters need beans to fulfil their contracts but beans are too expensive and hard to buy," said a trader based in the coffee belt.

"The situation may persist until April when Indonesian farmers start to release beans."

Another trader said the weather was favourable at the moment for the trees.

Vietnam exported 238,266 metric tons of coffee in January, up 67.4% from a year earlier and 14.8% from the previous month, customs data showed. Revenue reached $726.6 million, up 133.7% from January 2023.

Robusta coffee LRCc2 for May delivery settled up $31 or 1%, at $3,177 per metric ton as of Wednesday close.

Traders offered 5% black and broken-grade 2 robusta COFVN-G25-SAI at a premium range of $300-$350 per ton to the May contract.

Premiums for Sumatran robusta beans in Indonesia's Lampung jumped from last week, traders said, as demand rose while farmers are still waiting for coffee cherry harvests.

One trader offered $720 premium to the April contract, up from $550 on March contract last week.

"This is because there is no more beans," the trader said.

A small coffee harvest in Lampung province and the surrounding area in southern regions of Sumatra typically starts in March or April, and the main harvest usually starts around June.

Another trader offered $640 premium to the May contract, up from $600 premium last week, noting that demand was strong this week.

($1 = 24,585.0000 dong)

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and Mas Alina Arifin in Bandar Lampung; Editing by Varun H K)

((phuong.nguyen@thomsonreuters.com; +84-24-3852-9623))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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