Coffee Crop in Indonesia Poised for Highest in Three Years

Rabu, 07 Maret 2012 | 09:31

The coffee harvest in Indonesia, the third-biggest grower of the robusta variety used in instant drinks and espressos, is set to climb to the largest in three years, potentially capping a 12 percent rally. Production may increase 20 percent to 10 million bags this year from 8.3 million bags a year earlier, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of seven exporters, two traders and a roaster. That’s the most since 2009, according to US government figures, and more than the 9.1 million bags predicted by Volcafe, a unit of ED&F Man Holdings Ltd. 

Robusta futures jumped to a five-month high in February as Vietnamese growers, the world’s biggest, held back supplies. The harvest from Indonesia starting in April may help replenish inventories, limiting gains and containing costs for Nestle SA, maker of Nescafe and Nespresso. Prices may drop as low as $1,700 a metric ton from $2,020 now, according to INTL FCStone Inc.   

“The tightness in the robusta market will be here for at least another month,” said Oscar L. Schaps, managing director of global soft commodities at INTL FCStone in Miami. “The recent rise will attract more exports from Vietnam.”

Global coffee exports fell 9.9 percent to 7.99 million bags in January from a year earlier, the International Coffee Organization said Feb. 29. Shipments from Vietnam fell 19 percent to 292,000 tons in the first two months, according to the General Statistics Office in Hanoi. Farmers withheld beans after prices plunged 14 percent last year, forcing roasters to tap European stockpiles.                       

‘Lone Supplier’   

“Vietnam is almost the lone supplier of volume robusta these last couple of months, until India, Uganda, Indonesia, Ivory Coast or even Brazil start to ship more volume come April and May,” Volcafe said in a report.   

Global robusta output will exceed demand by 2.5 million bags this season, compared with a 700,000-bag shortage last year, Macquarie Group Ltd. said Dec. 13. Expanding robusta harvests contrast with an anticipated shortage in the arabica variety favored by Starbucks Corp., after the heaviest rains in two decades damaged Central American plantations.   

The May-delivery robusta contract ended little changed at $2,020 a ton on the NYSE Liffe Exchange on March 2. Prices for the most active contract have gained 12 percent this year.   

Exports may climb 14 percent to about 400,000 tons, said Suyanto Hussein, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industries. Local consumption may increase to 250,000 tons from 200,000 tons, he said. Output declined last year as a longer-than-usual rainy season damaged crops.                      

‘Enough Sunlight’   

“The weather is relatively good for the coffee harvest this year,” Isdarmawan Asrikan, director at Surabaya, East Java-based exporter Lintas Utama said by phone on Feb. 27. The monsoon season was not as wet as a year earlier and “this is good for the drying process as we should get enough sunlight, resulting in good quality beans.”

By Yoga Rusmana & Eko Listiyorini