Coffee market recovers slightly from December slump
After reaching its lowest level in 22 months in December 2017, the monthly average of the ICO composite indicator price increased by 1.4% to 115.60 US cents/lb in January 2018. Prices for all group indicators saw gains in January. Colombian Milds, Other Milds, and Brazilian Naturals recorded increases of 1.5%, 1% and 1.8% respectively while Robusta rose by 1.2%. In December 2017, global shipments of coffee increased by 0.7% to 10.62 million bags compared to the same month one year ago. However, shipments for the first quarter of coffee year 2017/18 are down 6.7% from one year ago, reaching 28.36 million bags. Global output in crop year 2017/18, is estimated at 158.93 million bags, 0.8% higher than last year. Production is estimated to grow by 4.7% to 17.93 million bags in Africa, 5.9% to 47.64 million bags in Asia & Oceania and 7.1% to 21.92 million bags in Mexico & Central America. These increases would offset declines in South America by 4.9% to 71.44 million bags.
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The Council of Brazilian Coffee Exporters (Cecafe) says the country’s coffee stocks are likely to hit an all-time low by the end of the season in March but it will have little effect on prices. In a recent research note, Commerzbank Research noted that Brazil had exported large quantities of coffee for years, as well as consuming a lot itself, but the unsatisfactory 2017/18 crop has failed to deliver much new supply.
“In recent months, this had already driven export activity down significantly as compared with previous years,” said Commerzbank. “For 2017 as a whole, Cecafe has thus reported a 10 per cent year-on-year decrease and the lowest export figure in five years. As a result, Brazil’s share of global exports declined from 28.8 per cent in 2016 to 25.8 per cent. Only sluggish exports are likely in the first half of 2018.”

With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term—té in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

The “supply situation” in coffee “now looks even more comfortable”, Commerzbank said, after the International Coffee Organization nudged higher its forecasts for stock builds in both this season and last.

The ICO raised by 94,000 bags to 1.18m bags its estimate for the world coffee production surplus in 2017-18, reflecting a similar increase in the output forecast to a record 158.8m bags. And for 2016-17, which ended in September, it raised the estimate for the output surplus by 257,000 bags to 2.63m bags. Again this reflected a higher production estimate, lifted by 257,000 bags to 157.7m bags “After the ICO had already switched in November from predicting a deficit to a surplus for [2016-17], and has again revised this figure slightly upwards, the supply situation now looks even more comfortable,” Commerzbank said.