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The latest news and views from the Bennetts team

Featuring the latest news on the coffee industry and business insight from senior members of the Bennetts team.

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A larger than predicted Arabica crop for Brazil, harvest update for Central America and the ICO's export data for the first quarter of the current October 2015 to September 2016 coffee year.

The El Niño-enthused rains continue to fall over south east Brazil and are predicted to last through to April.  Despite this phenomenon now on the wane, the new and larger Brazil Arabica coffee crop would seem to be secure for this year.  In this respect, there are some local Brazilian speculators who are already talking of a new Arabica coffee crop in excess of 41.5 million 60kg bags which, added to an estimated Conilon Robusta crop of approximately 14 million 60kg bags, is pointing to a new 2015/16 crop close to 56 million bags. These rains have greatly assisted in the recovery of the origin’s water dams and reservoirs. 

After a record crop in 2015 of 14.2 million bags, Colombia's 2016 crop is being threatened by high temperatures and a lack of rainfall over key growing regions. The impact will have varying effects. "The impact will be different regionally," explain Carlos Ignacio Rojas Gaitan, President and CEO of the Association of Coffee Exporters of Colombia (ASOEXPORT). "(this type of weather) can help the quality of the beans that are already formed. The biological 'logic' is that if the plant feels strained, with few leaves, all the energy goes to the cherry. However, if the sun is too bright, with too much dryness during the period where the beans are maturing, we could see 'empty cherries' or small beans. Hopefully, and overall in the country, the impact will be minor, with some areas being benefited while others hurt." The second crop, or fly crop, could be most negatively impacted. This crop is generally harvested from April to June and is currently deep into the development stage. 

The National Export Centre in Nicaragua has reported that the origin’s coffee exports for the month of December were 10,624 bags or 22.54 percent higher than the same month in the previous year, at a total of 58,370 60kg bags. This improved performance does not however counter the slow start to this new crop and the coffee year for Nicaragua. The country’s cumulative coffee exports for the first three months of the coffee year were 29.78 percent lower than the same period in the 2014/15 coffee year. This report, however, is not unexpected, as irregular weather conditions over Central America in the second half of last year have resulted in a slower maturing of new crop cherries. The origin is entering the final stages of harvest for the Matagalpa and Jinotega regions.

In other Central America news, Guatemala has reached the peak of the harvest with approximately 65 percent of the crop already picked and prices remaining high. El Salvador’s crop is 80 percent harvested leaving only the Strictly High Grown (SHG) qualities for this month and March. In Honduras producers are seemingly reluctant to sell at current market price and delivering most of their production in consignments. Approximately 60-70 percent of Honduras’ crop has been harvested so far. Costa Rica is trending at a very similar pace to last season and has harvested 70 percent of the new crop.

The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) have reported that the world coffee exports for the month of December were 1.42 percent higher than the same month in the previous coffee year, at a total of 9.31 million 60kg bags. According to the report, this improved performance has contributed to world coffee exports for the first three months of the current coffee year being 2.6 percent higher than the same period in the previous coffee year, at a total of 26.9 million bags.
Based on this information the ICO note that, despite exports of mostly Robusta coffees from Vietnam being 11 percent lower than the same period in the 2014/15 coffee year, exports from Colombia and Brazil were 14 percent and 5 percent higher respectively. So whilst there have been mixed contributions from the world’s three largest coffee producers for the first quarter of this new coffee year, there is seemingly more than sufficient coffee supply.

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