Arabica and Robusta prices headed in opposite directions

Arabica and Robusta prices went in opposite directions this month, with Arabica prices dropping back down after March’s rally, while Robusta increased to the highest monthly average since November, according to the International Coffee Organization’s (ICO) monthly report for April. Total exports in March are estimated at 10.4 million bags, up 1 per cent compared to March last year, with Arabicas up 3 per cent and Robustas down by 2 per cent. This brings total exports for the first half of the coffee year (October to March) to 55.5 million bags, a 1.6 per cent increase on 2014/15. This is the second-highest volume on record, according to the ICO, just 14,000 bags less than total shipments in the first half of 2012/13. Exports of Arabica are estimated up by 7.6 per cent to 35.8 million bags, with the highest increase recorded in Colombian Milds, up 13.2 per cent. Colombia itself exported 6.8 million bags, 14.1 per cent more than last year and its highest volume since 1992/93. Robustas, on the other hand, are estimated lower by 7.7 per cent to 19.7 million bags, although the ICO estimates a slight increase of 0.5 per cent in Vietnam to 11.5 million bags. March also signifies the end of crop year 2015/16 in the April to March group of countries, including Brazil, Indonesia and Peru. In Brazil, exports came to a total of 36.5 million bags, slightly down from 36.9 million bags but still the second highest volume on record. This impressive export performance has come despite the lower production figures of 43.2 million bags in 2015/16 and 45.6 million in 2014/15. Domestic consumption in Brazil has maintained a level of between 20 and 20.5 million bags over the last four years. Looking ahead to 2016/17, the initial estimate from Conab suggests a recovery in production to between 49.1 and 51.9 million bags. In Indonesia, exports for crop year 2015/16 are estimated down by 8.3 per cent to 6.1 million bags, their lowest level since 2010/11, despite an increase in production to an estimated 12.3 million bags. This can be attributed in large part to increasing domestic consumption, which is reducing export availability. Supply could be further limited in 2016/17 as El Niño results in reduced rainfall. Prospects in Peru are more positive, with exports for 2015/16 up by over 25 per cent compared to the previous year, when output was severely affected by coffee leaf rust, to reach 3.1 million bags.

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