Arabica Coffee Closes Higher on Strength in the Brazilian Real

May arabica coffee (KCK24) on Tuesday closed up +2.45 (+1.16), and May ICE robusta coffee (RMK24) closed down -14 (-0.37%).

Coffee prices on Tuesday settled mixed.  Arabica coffee prices rose due to Tuesday's rally in the Brazilian real (^USDBRL) to a 1-1/2 week high against the dollar.  A stronger real discourages export selling from Brazil's coffee producers.

Robusta was under pressure Tuesday after Vietnam's General Department of Customs reported that Vietnam's Mar coffee exports rose +17.7% m/m to 188,972 MT.  Also, Vietnam's Q1 coffee exports are up +5.9% y/y at 585,696 MT.  

A bearish factor for coffee was Monday's report from the International Coffee Association (ICO) that showed global coffee exports in Feb rose +6.8% y/y to 11.33 million bags, and total 2023/24 global coffee exports from Oct-Feb rose +11.1% y/y to 56.2 million bags.

Concern that excessive dryness in Vietnam will limit the country's robusta coffee production is bullish and pushed robusta prices to an all-time high last Thursday and arabica coffee up to a 5-3/4 month high Monday.  

Somar Meteorologia reported Monday that Brazil's Minas Gerais region received 2.5 mm of rainfall in the past week, or 12% of the historical average.  Minas Gerais accounts for about 30% of Brazil's arabica crop.

Tight robusta coffee supplies from Vietnam, the world's largest producer of robusta coffee beans, are a major bullish price factor.  On Mar 26, Vietnam's agriculture department projected that Vietnam's coffee production in the 2023/24 crop year could drop by -20% to 1.472 MMT, the smallest crop in four years, due to drought.  Also, the Vietnam Coffee Association said that Vietnam's 2023/24 coffee exports could drop -20% y/y to 1.336 MM.  In addition, Marex Group Plc forecasts a global 2024/25 robusta coffee deficit of -2.7 million bags due to reduced output in Vietnam.

Coffee inventories have rebounded from historically low levels.  ICE-monitored robusta coffee inventories on February 21 fell to a record low of 1,958 lots, although they recovered to a 2-1/2 month high of 3,094 lots last Thursday.  Also, ICE-monitored arabica coffee inventories fell to a 24-year low of 224,066 bags on November 30, but they recovered to a 10-1/2 month high last Thursday of 628,217 bags.

Larger coffee exports from Brazil are bearish for prices.  Cecafe reported recently that Brazil's Feb arabica coffee exports jumped +36.5% y/y to 2.806 million bags.  Brazil is the world's largest producer of arabica coffee beans.  Separately, Brazil exporter group Comexim, on February 1, raised its Brazil 2023/24 coffee export estimate to 44.9 million bags from a previous estimate of 41.5 million bags.

This year's El Nino weather event is bullish for coffee prices.  An El Nino pattern typically brings heavy rains to Brazil and drought to India, negatively impacting coffee crop production.  The El Nino event has brought drought to Vietnam's coffee areas this year, according to an official from Vietnam's Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology, and Climate Change.

In a bearish factor, the ICO projected on December 5 that 2023/24 global coffee production would climb +5.8% y/y to 178 million bags due to an exceptional off-biennial crop year.  ICO also projects global 2023/24 coffee consumption will rise +2.2% y/y to 177 million bags, resulting in a 1 million bag coffee surplus.

The USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), in its biannual report released on December 21, projected that world coffee production in 2023/24 will increase +4.2% y/y to 171.4 million bags, with a +10.7% increase in arabica production to 97.3 million bags, and a -3.3% decline in robusta production to 74.1 million bags.  The USDA's FAS forecasts that 2023/24 ending stocks will fall by -4.0% to 26.5 million bags from 27.6 million bags in 2022-23.  The USDA's FAS projects that Brazil's 2023/24 arabica production would climb +12.8% y/y to 44.9 mln bags due to higher yields and increased planted acreage.  The USDA's FAS also forecasts that 2023/24 coffee production in Colombia, the world's second-largest arabica producer, will climb +7.5% y/y to 11.5 mln bags. 

More Coffee News from Barchart

On the date of publication, Rich Asplund did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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