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HANOI: Vietnam's coffee market was tepid on its first trading days after the Lunar New Year break, with no export deals, while Indonesian exporters offered no new contracts due to depleted supplies, traders said on Thursday. Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam's coffee-growing capital, sold coffee at 32,300 dong ($1.40) per kg, up from 31,200-31,700 dong ($1.35-$1.39) per kg before the Lunar New Year.

"Farmers are still in holiday and are not selling yet. Trade is sluggish amid post-holiday sentiment," said a trader based in the coffee belt.

"At the same time, farmers are not willing to sell beans at this price, which is not enough to cover the production cost, while some growers have already sold passion fruits or durians, planted alongside coffee trees, to cover their needs."

Another trader based in the same region said a shortage of shipping containers since December last year had sent freight rates soaring and had also hindered exporters from shipping beans. May robusta coffee settled up $9, or 1%, at $1,372 per tonne on Wednesday.

Traders in Vietnam offered 5% black and broken grade 2 robusta at premiums of $90-$100 to the May contract, unchanged from the week before holiday. Vietnam exported 160,615 tonnes of coffee in January, up 10.2% from a year earlier, government customs data showed.

In Indonesia's Lampung Province, robusta beans were offered at premiums of $270-$280 premium to the April contract, down from $290 premium offered two weeks ago for the same contract, according to a local trader.

"Premiums were adjusted down since the benchmark prices in London rose," the trader said. "Even so, it is hard to export since the stockpile is too low and mini harvest hasn't come yet."

However, the trader said some farmers were releasing small amount of beans.