Vietnam is expected to export between 45,000 tonnes and 70,000 tonnes, or 750,000 and 1.17 million bags, of coffee this month, down from an estimated loading of 80,000 tonnes in June, further pushing up premium levels, traders said on Tuesday.
This could prompt buyers to seek alternative supplies in Europe, where stocks in warehouses are high, while hopes also hinge on the release of volumes in Viet-nam when prices touch a sufficiently high level, traders said.
"The [domestic] supply is drying up, so buyers could switch to taking beans right from stocks in Europe," said a trader at a foreign company based in Ho Chi Minh City.
On a downtrend
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Vietnam's coffee exports have been on a downtrend since the last harvest ended in December, two weeks earlier than usual, and a price surge has encouraged exporters and farmers to rush for sale and loading in the first half of 2011, leading to lower exports for the second half.
Its coffee exports between October 2010 and June rose 25 per cent from a year ago to 19.47 million 60-kg bags, government data showed, leaving around 2.5 million bags in the country based on a crop of 22 million bags as estimated by traders.
"New buying is rare, only with some buyers who are really short, while generally buyers have been chasing loading for the contracts committed earlier," the trader added.
Exporters have delayed loading part of contracts totalling around 100,000 tonnes since May because of a shortage of stocks, an industry official said last month.
Vietnam, the world's second-largest coffee producer after Brazil, shipped 89,000 tonnes of the commodity in July 2010, down from 94,900 tonnes in the previous month, government statistics show.
"The external demand to take delivery of Vietnamese coffee is at around 60,000 tonnes [1 million bags] a month," a second trader said, adding that it was now cheaper to take Vietnamese beans in Europe than in the country itself.
In Europe, certified coffee stocks held in NYSE Liffe nominated warehouses rose to 412,380 tonnes as of June 27, from 404,510 tonnes on June 13.
Traders said exporters have stopped making export quotations due to thin supply, but indicative offers priced robusta grade 2, five per cent black and broke at a premium of around $100 (Dh367) a tonne to London's September contract, from $80 last week.
Last month the premium for Vietnam's robusta paid in the US climbed and the differentials also continued to strengthen in Europe's cash coffee market.
Going by Monday's close, Vietnamese bitter beans were around $2,566 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) basis, up from $2,465-$2,475 last Tuesday.
In domestic markets yesterday, robusta beans rose to $2,459-$2,478 a tonne in Daklak, the top growing province, from a maximum of around $2445 a week ago.