* Sumatran beans little changed at $30 to $40/T premiums
* Vietnam robustas at $50 below futures, no deals
* Early flowering in Sumatra due to erratic rains
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Asia’s physical coffee market was barely alive this week after recent falls in London futures prompted roasters to wait for bargains and sellers to hold back their beans, keeping differentials in a tight range, dealers said on Thursday.
Benchmark London futures slipped around 7 percent to below $2,000 a tonne as speculators booked profits after sending prices to their highest in three months in early August on concerns over the Brazilian crop.
Indonesia’s Sumatran grade 4, 80 defect robusta beans were quoted at $30 to $40 a tonne above London futures, within sight of last week’s range of $20 to $30 premiums, with no reports of deals. Robustas in rival Vietnam were quoted below London futures.
“Buyers have no intention of buying Indonesian beans at the current price. The premiums have refused to come down,” said a dealer in Indonesia’s main growing island of Sumatra.
“I don’t think local roasters such as Kapal Api and Mayora are chasing beans either.”
The current crop in Indonesia, the world’s third-largest producer after Brazil and Vietnam, peaked in June, but erratic rains brought forward the flowering season to July from August.
Early flowering could lead to a bigger crop, although it remains to be seen if the weather will be favourable for the rest of this year. Flowers will wilt if it is too dry or too wet.
“It’s such a beautiful flowering season. I think 10 to 15 percent of beans from the current crop are still in the hands of farmers and collectors,” said the dealer in Sumatra. “They are waiting for the right price to sell.”
A Reuters poll in June showed Indonesia’s coffee output is likely to plunge to a three-year low in 2014/15 due to unfriendly crop weather, while higher domestic consumption will soak up about half the produce.
In Vietnam, grade 2, 5 percent black and broken beans were offered at discounts of $50 below futures, within sight of last week’s $30 to $60 a tonne discounts.
The current crop year ends in September and harvesting in the new 2014/2015 crop is due to start from late October.
Vietnam produced around 1.4 million tonnes, or 23.3 million 60-kg bags in the 2013/2014 season, according to the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association. Harvesting of the 2014/2015 crop is due to begin from late October, with output expected at around 23 million bags.
“Vietnam is as equally deserted as Indonesia. We haven’t done any deals this week,” said a dealer in Singapore.
November robusta futures on Liffe ended flat at $1,976 a tonne on Wednesday. ICE December arabicas, which often influence London, closed up 0.70 cent, or 0.4 percent, at $1.8960 per lb. (Editing by Joseph Radford)