Arabica prices fall in February despite rust leaf outbreak in Central America

The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) reported on 1 March that the monthly average of the ICO composite indicator price continued to fall in February, driven by Arabicas, despite reports of rust leaf disease outbreaks in Central America that will lead to significant losses in Arabica production.  The ICO composite price fell to to 131.51 US cents per pound in February, 2.9 per cent lower than January 2013, and 27.9 per cent lower than February 2012. This decline was driven by Arabicas, with the monthly averages of Colombian Milds, Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals all registering decreases of 4.4 per cent, 5 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively. Colombian production concerns arose in February following a strike by around 40,000 coffee farmers, in reaction to low coffee prices and the revaluation of the Colombian Peso against the US dollar. 

Prices of Robustas, on the other hand, were much firmer, with the ICO noting that they've increased to their highest monthly average since October 2012. The group indicator for Robustas recorded a strong increase of 4.4 per cent compared to January 2013 to reach 104.03 US cents per pound, its highest level since October 2012. The ICO reported that these price movements led to the Arabica/Robusta arbitrage narrowing considerably, with the premium of New York over London at its lowest level since April 2009. The ICO also released total coffee export income figures for the calendar year 2012. Exporting countries earned an estimated US$22.5 billion. The figure represents a 9.6 per cent drop on 2011, despite recording a higher volume of 113.1 million bags. The loss was mainly recorded in Arabica income, with Robusta coffee earning an estimated US$6.1 billion, up from $5.1 billion in 2011.

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