Arabica Coffee Settles Higher on Heavy Rain in Brazil

Coffee prices in Brazil have seen moderate gains, with the Minas Gerais region receiving 75.4 mm of rainfall in the past week, which accounts for about 30% of Brazil’s arabica crop. The weakness in the Brazilian real (^USDBRL) has limited gains in arabica, but it encourages export selling from Brazil’s coffee producers. Robusta coffee prices rose to a record high last Wednesday after the Vietnam Coffee Association said that Vietnam’s 2023/24 coffee exports could drop -20% y/y to 1.336 MMT due to dry weather reducing coffee yields and production.

Tight robusta coffee supplies from Vietnam, the world’s largest producer of robusta coffee beans, are a major bullish price factor. 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. Marex Group Plc forecasts a global 2024/25 robusta coffee deficit of -2.7 million bags due to reduced output in Vietnam.

A rebound in Vietnam’s coffee exports is bearish for robusta prices. Last Thursday, Vietnam’s General Statistics Office reported that Vietnam’s Mar coffee exports rose +90.1% y/y to 400,00 MT, and Q1 coffee exports rose +44.4% y/y to 799,000 MT. Rabobank predicted a coffee surplus of 4.5 million bags for the upcoming 2024-25 marketing year, up sharply from the 500,000 bag surplus projected for 2023-24. On the bullish side, Rabobank reduced its 2023-24 production forecast by 3.9 million bags to 171.1 million bags, mainly because of downward revisions to production estimates for Indonesia and Honduras.

Coffee inventories have rebounded from historically low levels, with ICE-monitored robusta coffee inventories falling to a record low of 1,958 lots, but recovering to a 2-month high of 3,047lots last Thursday. Larger coffee exports from Brazil are bearish for prices, with Cecafe reporting a 45% y/y increase in Jan coffee exports to 3.7 million bags.

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