Colombia’s recovery in coffee output, and exports, will progress faster than had been thought this season, US officials said – but on an assumption of “normal” weather, even as ideas of La Nina grow. The US Department of Agriculture’s Bogota bureau pegged Colombia’s coffee output in 2017-18, on an October-to-September basis, at 14.7m bags, a 25-year high. The figure was 100,000 bags above the USDA’s official estimate, and represents a near-doubling in output from a low 7.66m bags reached six seasons ago, when production was dented by a drive to replant with trees resistant to the rust fungus which had badly hurt the country’s productivity. Indeed, the bureau’s output estimate reflects in part expectations of “more plants reaching their productive peak”. More than 420,000 hectares of the 940,000 hectares of coffee area in Colombia has so far been replanted, with renovation continuing at an average pace of 84,000 hectares a year.

What do Patagonia, Keurig, and Costco have in common? At first glance, not a lot. One brand makes activewear, one sells coffee, and another sells… well, just about everything in between. But they have one important similarity you may not know about: They all sell fair trade products ranging from tea and coffee to apparel, body care, and home goods. And that phrase signifies a lot more than you may realize. It means those items are produced according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards, so you, the consumer, can make a difference in the lives of workers all over the world with every product you purchase.

Arabica coffee futures jumped again, taking gains for the week to 8% – and rebuilding their premium to robusta beans – amid “worrisome” forecasts for further dryness in major Brazilian growing areas. New York-traded arabica coffee futures for December, the best-traded contract, closed up 2.7% at 141.40 cents a pound, the highest finish in a month. The gains came amid fresh concerns over dryness in central Brazil, worries which have spurred gains in soybeans futures too, for which the country’s sowings window is opening, and which have gained further traction with the increased chance of a La Nina, which has a history of curbing rains in parts of the country.

Coffee futures are “vulnerable to an upside run”, thanks to the threat to Brazilian output from insect pests, analyst Judith Ganes-Chase said, cautioning over “some angst” over Vietnamese production too. With 2018 an “on year” in Brazil’s cycle of alternate higher and lower arabica output years, and dryness easing in robusta-growing districts, it could “see production top 60m bags” in the top coffee-growing country, setting a record high, Ms Ganes-Chase said.


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