HANOI, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's coffee exports picked up in April after a year-on-year contraction of 2.3 percent in the first quarter as coffee prices continued to rise on the prospect of tighter global supplies, Vietnam News reported on Thursday.
Coffee exports in April jumped 30.7 percent to 474 million U.S. dollars, resulting in total export earnings in the first four months of 1.7 billion dollars, up 2.5 percent from a year ago, according to the General Statistics Office.
The country's coffee shipments in the January-April period are estimated to increase 1.8 percent from a year earlier to 753,000 tons, official data showed.
Traders on the London ICE Futures Exchange offered robusta at an average price of 2,564 dollars as of April 24, surging nearly 40 percent from the beginning of the year, according to the Mercantile Exchange of Vietnam.
Domestic coffee prices continued the rising streak this week to around 52,000 dong (2.2 U.S. dollars) per kilogram, after widening 25 percent in the first three months from the end of last year and 17 percent from a year earlier to 48,600-49,000 dong (about 2 dollars) per kilogram, according to the trade ministry's import-export department.
Prices surged on tighter supplies as local farmers ran down their inventories and 2022 output dropped by 10-15 percent from earlier forecast due to heavy rain in the harvest period, said Pham Quang Anh from the Mercantile Exchange of Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the coffee output of Indonesia, the world's third largest robusta producer, is forecast to be at around 9 million tons, the lowest in the past decade, according to Volcafe.
The Brazil National Supply Company said the national robusta output would drop by nearly 4 percent compared to the previous harvest.
Coffee prices jump as global supplies are expected to remain tight, providing opportunities for Vietnam to earn over 4 billion dollars this year, relatively unchanged from last year's record high of 3.9 billion dollars.
The Southeast Asian country's coffee farming covers about 710,000 hectares. Its largest coffee-growing area in the Central Highlands accounts for about 90 percent of the total output, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vietnam aims to achieve an export value of 6 billion dollars by 2030, said the Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association. ■