July coffee exports hit five year low: ICO

The volume of coffee exported globally plunged dramatically in July, with shipments totalling just 7.7 million bags, 22 per cent less than the same month last year, and the lowest monthly volume since October 2011, according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

The fall was due to adverse conditions experienced in four of the world’s major exporting nations – Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia, the ICO reports.

In Brazil, exports were 33.1 per cent lower than last year on 1.9 million bags, comprising 1.6 million of green Arabica (down 26.3 per cent), 300,000 bags of roasted and soluble (-10.3 per cent) and less than 40,000 bags of Robusta (-90.9 per cent). The ICO states that this reinforces the idea that domestic stocks are nearly exhausted in Brazil, with the 2016/17 crop due to start coming to market shortly. However, there are some concerns over the Robusta supply, which is mostly used for domestic consumption, and it is therefore likely that some lower grade Arabica will be required to supply the local market, potentially reducing availability over the next year.

In Vietnam, exports are estimated 5.9 per cent lower on 1.65 million bags. The ICO report emphasises that these are provisional figures, which differ significantly from the official customs figures. It is believed that this difference is explained by coffee that has been customs cleared but has not yet been shipped. This would suggest that significant stocks of coffee are building up in Vietnam, which could help alleviate supply issues over the next year.

In Colombia, exports dropped by nearly 60 per cent to just 489,000 bags as a truckers strike disrupted the internal movement of coffee. However, following the resolution of this strike, it is expected that the flow of exports should have resumed in August, although a lack of rainfall due to El Niño is expected to reduce output towards the end of the year.

Finally, Indonesia has been recording consistently lower exports since the beginning of its crop year in April, as the 2016/17 crop also seems to have been badly affected by El Niño. Total exports for the first third of its crop year (April to July) are down by over 45 per cent on 1.5 million bags.

As a result, the ICO reports that total exports for the first 10 months of the coffee year have come to 93.3 million bags, 1.7 per cent lower than last year. Arabicas are up by 2.6 per cent, with higher shipments of both Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals, while Robustas are down by 8.2 per cent.

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