By Phuong Nguyen and Mas Alina Arifin
HANOI/BANDAR LAMPUNG (Reuters) - Coffee trading in Vietnam was sluggish this week due to low stockpiles, traders said on Thursday, with prices ticking down on weak demand ahead of new harvest.
Farmers in the Central Highlands, Vietnam's largest coffee-growing area, sold coffee <COFVN-DAK> at 32,200-32,500 dong ($1.38-$1.40) per kg on Thursday, compared with 34,000 dong last week.
"The prices will fall further in the upcoming weeks as a new harvest is set to begin soon," a trader based in the region said, adding that the inventory of the 2018/19 crop season had run almost empty.
Few exports deals were struck due to weak demand and low supply at the end of the October-September crop season, while the harvest is not yet in full swing.
"Beans are almost ready for harvesting and weather condition is still favourable for the trees," another trader also based in the region said.
Traders in Vietnam offered 5% black and broken grade 2 robusta <COFVN-G25-SAI> at $160-$180 premium per tonne to the November contract on Thursday, narrowing from a range of $180-$200 last week.
Vietnam's coffee exports in the first nine months of this year fell 12.5% from a year earlier to 1.27 million tonnes, or 2.12 million 60-kg bags, customs data released on Thursday showed.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's grade 4 defect 80 robusta beans <COFID-G4-USD> were offered at premiums of $215-$230 to the November contract, up from last week's $210-$215 premiums, to compensate for lower price in London and due to diminishing bean stocks.
"Last week's trades were far more active. Supply has depleted in Lampung's coffee centres," the trader said.
(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen in HANOI and Mas Alina Arifin in BANDAR LAMPUNG; Editing by Aditya Soni)