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27 April, 2020

Arabica Prices Rise in March While Robusta Falls

 In March 2020, prices for all Arabica group indicators increased due to concerns over the availability

of that type of coffee while Robusta prices fell by 0.9% to 67.46 US cents/lb. The ICO composite
indicator reversed its downward trend, rising by 6.9% to 109.05 US cents/lb. Global exports in February
2020 totalled 11.11 million bags, compared with 10.83 million bags in February 2019, but shipments
in the first five months of coffee year 2019/20 decreased by 3.4% to 50.97 million bags. In 2019/20,
world coffee consumption is estimated at 169.34 million bags, 0.7% higher than in 2018/19 as
Covid-19 presents considerable downside risk to global coffee consumption. Currently demand is
estimated to exceed production, projected at 168.86 million bags, by 0.47 million bags in coffee year
2019/20. However, the situation is evolving quickly and impacting both supply and demand. The
Secretariat is closely monitoring the situation and will keep its Members and the wider coffee sector
informed as new information and analysis becomes available.



Global exports in February 2020 totalled 11.11 million bags, compared with 10.83 million in
February 2019. Exports in the first five months of coffee year 2019/20 have decreased by 3.4%
to 50.97 million bags compared to 52.78 million bags for the same period in 2018/19. Exports of
Arabica decreased by 7.8% to 31.86 million bags in October 2019 through February 2020 while
Robusta shipments increased by 4.8% to 19.1 million bags.

In February 2020, exports from Brazil decreased by 24.3% to 2.7 million bags compared to
February 2019
. Its shipments from October 2019 through February 2020 fell by 13.2% to
16.19 million bags compared to the same period in 2018/19. In 2019/20, Brazil’s crop is
estimated at 57 million bags, 12.2% lower than 2018/19. Arabica production, which typically
accounts for around 65-70% of its total crop, is in the off-year of its biennial cycle for 2019/20,
leading to the downturn in total output this crop year. Typically harvesting of its new Robusta
crop commences in April with Arabica activity beginning in June. However, delays may occur due
to the spread of coronavirus making it more difficult to hire and manage labour for harvesting
and transportation. This could result in lower shipments in the short-term, particularly since
stocks are relatively low at the end of its 2019/20 crop year.

Viet Nam’s exports in February 2020 rose by 51.4% to 2.8 million bags, though this compared
with an exceptionally low volume in February 2019
. Further, Viet Nam’s exports in the first five
months of the coffee year, however, are down 4.1% at 11.15 million bags. Since the start of the
coffee year in October 2019, Robusta prices have fallen each month, except in November 2019,
making it likely that farmers in Viet Nam are holding on to their coffee until prices rise. From
1 April, the Government of Viet Nam has implemented a social distancing policy to curb
transmission of coronavirus. This is unlikely to have a large impact on production, estimated 4.4%
higher at 31.2 million bags, as harvesting is mostly complete. However, this could impact
shipments in the near-term.


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