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

Reuters

* Vietnam high-quality coffee offered to Singapore dealers

* Thai sugar millers may resist pressure from Brazil

* Tokyo rubber futures see support at 262-265 yen/kg

By Lewa Pardomuan

SINGAPORE, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Sellers in top robustaproducer Vietnam may offer more beans from the new crop,expected to be abundant, while Thai sugar premiums could rise asmillers offset weakness in New York futures, dealers said onMonday.

Among other soft commodities, benchmark Tokyo rubber futurescould trade in a narrow range this week, while cocoa butterenjoys strong demand from chocolate makers, keeping ratios at amulti-year peak.

The yet-to-be harvested Vietnamese beans are being offeredat premiums to London futures, with sellers keen to fixdeals with buyers before domestic prices drop as supply rises.Vietnamese beans usually trade below London futures when thecrop peaks.

"We've received offers grade 2, screen 16 beans at premiumsof $60. Offers have been on and off, but we expect to see morein 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 theharvest in Vietnam will start earlier. Premiums in Indonesia arestill at between $80 and $110. There's a lot of coffee."

The harvest in Indonesia is at the tail end and the marketexpects to see more offers from the world's second-largestrobusta producer because of a weak rupiah.

Vietnam's next crop is expected to start in October, withoutput in the season to September 2014 forecast to hit a recordof 25 million 60-kg bags, according to a Reuters poll.

In the sugar market, Thai sellers could lift the premiums asbenchmark New York futures hold near a three-year lowbecause of ample global supplies. Futures and premiums usuallymove in opposite directions.

"I think for this week, we expect premiums to recover to100-110 points for hipol," said a dealer in Bangkok.

The widely traded high polarisation, or hipol, Thai rawsfor prompt delivery were offered at 80 points premiums to NewYork futures last week.

RUBBER, COCOA BUTTER RATIOS

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

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

"The Qingdao stocks didn't fall too much by the end ofAugust compared with the level on August 15. The stocks are at295,000 tonnes," said Gu Jiong, an analyst at Yutaka Shoji Co inTokyo.

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

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

Cocoa beans are ground to produce roughly equal parts butterand powder - used to make cakes, biscuits and drinks. (Editing by Ron Popeski)

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