Asia Softs-Vietnam offers new coffee crop, sugar premiums may rise

Sellers in top robusta producer Vietnam may offer more beans from the new crop, expected to be abundant, while Thai sugar premiums could rise as millers offset weakness in New York futures, dealers said on Monday.

Harvesting coffee in central highland region of Vietnam. Photo by Intimexhcm.com

Harvesting coffee in central highland region of Vietnam. Photo by Intimexhcm.com


Among other soft commodities, benchmark Tokyo rubber futures could trade in a narrow range this week, while cocoa butter enjoys strong demand from chocolate makers, keeping ratios at a multi-year peak.
The yet-to-be harvested Vietnamese beans are being offered at premiums to London futures, with sellers keen to fix deals with buyers before domestic prices drop as supply rises. Vietnamese beans usually trade below London futures when the crop peaks.

“We’ve received offers grade 2, screen 16 beans at premiums of $60. Offers have been on and off, but we expect to see more in the second half of September,” said a dealer in Singapore, referring to higher-quality Vietnamese robustas.

“Nothing has been traded so far. There’s a chance the harvest in Vietnam will start earlier. Premiums in Indonesia are still at between $80 and $110. There’s a lot of coffee.”

The harvest in Indonesia is at the tail end and the market expects to see more offers from the world’s second-largest robusta producer because of a weak rupiah.

Vietnam’s next crop is expected to start in October, with output in the season to September 2014 forecast to hit a record of 25 million 60-kg bags, according to a Reuters poll.
In the sugar market, Thai sellers could lift the premiums as benchmark New York futures hold near a three-year low because of ample global supplies. Futures and premiums usually move in opposite directions.

“I think for this week, we expect premiums to recover to 100-110 points for hipol,” said a dealer in Bangkok.

The widely traded high polarisation, or hipol, Thai raws for prompt delivery were offered at 80 points premiums to New York futures last week.

RUBBER, COCOA BUTTER RATIOS

Tokyo rubber futures jumped more than 3 percent to an intraday high of 277.9 yen a kg on Monday as Shanghai futures rallied after China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a year in August.

But the Tokyo market, which sets the tone for physical prices, could trade in a narrow range because of high inventory in top consumer China. Support levels were pegged at 262 to 265 yen a kg.

“The Qingdao stocks didn’t fall too much by the end of August compared with the level on August 15. The stocks are at 295,000 tonnes,” said Gu Jiong, an analyst at Yutaka Shoji Co in Tokyo.

Rubber stocks at Qingdao, which are closely watched and make up the bulk of China’s inventory, stood at 298,300 tonnes in the middle of last month, still above the usual level of 250,000 tonnes, said dealers.

In the cocoa market, butter ratios may rise further on demand from chocolate makers. Butter ratios, which give chocolate its melt-in-the-mouth texture, are currently at their highest since 2008 after last year’s sluggish market and high powder inventory prompted grinders to cut capacity.

Cocoa beans are ground to produce roughly equal parts butter and powder – used to make cakes, biscuits and drinks.

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