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HANOI: Coffee trading was slow this week in Vietnam, with domestic prices staying flat against the previous week and traders keeping a close eye on the weather and the output ahead of the new harvest starting in October.

Farmers in the central highlands, Vietnam’s largest coffee-growing area, sold beans in the range of 66,100-68,000 dong ($2.78 to $2.86) per kg, marginally above the 66,100-67,900 dong in the previous week. Vietnam’s July coffee exports fell 22.6% sequentially to 108,872 tons, government data showed. In January-July, coffee shipments from Vietnam fell 3.4% year-on-year to 1.12 million tons.

“July’s coffee export volume recorded this year was the lowest in the past 7-8 years or so,” a trader based in the coffee belt said. “London prices slid slightly following the news.”

Downpours and floods in the Central Highlands last week did not pose any threat to coffee trees, traders said. “The weather is still favourable for the trees and productivity may remain the same,” another trader based in the same region said.

However, with farmers switching to more profitable fruit-bearing trees, cultivation area has shrunk, the trader said, flagging that it could squeeze the coffee output this year.

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