Coffee prices rise in September, but weather remains a factor
The International Coffee Organisation’s (ICO) latest report finds that coffee prices underwent further increases in September 2021, but volatility lessened substantially while the market continues to be driven by weather in Brazil and by Covid-related disruption affecting trade in Asia.
In September 2021, coffee prices reached new record highs as the monthly average of the ICO composite indicator price was 170.02 US cents/lb, an increase of 6.2% as compared to 160.14 US cents/lb in August 2021. These price levels during coffee year 2020-21 confirmed a net recovery from the low levels experienced over the last three coffee years. The coffee market continued to be driven by weather in Brazil and by covid-related disruptions affecting trade in Asia.
In terms of market fundamentals, exports of all forms of coffee by all exporting countries to all destinations totalled 10.1 million 60-kg bags in August 2021, the same level as in August 2020. Total exports of all forms of coffee over the first 11 months of coffee year 2020-21 (October 2020 – August 2021) amounted to 118.96 million bags, an increase of 1.9% compared with 116.77 million bags during the same period in coffee year 2019-20. Cumulative exports from September 2020 to August 2021 are estimated at 129.55 million 60-kg bags, an increase of 2.1% compared with the 126.85 million bags recorded from September 2019 to August 2020.
Global coffee consumption for coffee year 2020-21 is estimated at 167.26 million bags, an increase of 1.9% over 164.13 million bags recorded in coffee year 2019-20. The projection for total production in coffee year 2020-21 is 169.64 million bags, representing a marginal increase of 0.4% on the 169.0 million bags harvested in coffee year 2019-20. The projected total production of coffee year 2020-21 is 8.6% above the average of the last 10 coffee years. However, concerns over the supply from main origins remain as climate-related shocks and covid-related disruptions continue to affect trade flows in many countries.
The monthly average of the ICO composite indicator rose by 6.2%, from 160.14 US cents/lb in August 2021 to 170.02 US cents/lb in September 2021. The level reached in September 2021 represents a 60.6% increase as compared to 105.85 US cents/lb recorded at the beginning of the current coffee year, October 2020. Moreover, the average price of September 2021 is the highest since the mark of 182.29 US cents/lb recorded in February 2012. The steady upward trend observed since the start of coffee year 2020-21 seems to confirm the recovery of coffee prices after three consecutive years of low-price levels.
Prices for all group indicators increased in September 2021 and reached their highest levels in several years. The highest increase occurred in the Robusta Group indicator price, which reached 104.6 US cents/lb, an increase of 9.9% as compared to 95.18 US cents/lb in August 2021, breaching the 100 US cents/lb ceiling for the first time since August 2017. The level in September 2021 represents an increase of 53% from October 2020.
The price for the Colombian Milds increased by 6.6% to 240.38 US cents/lb in September 2021 as compared to 225.40 US cents/lb in August 2021. Moreover, the price level reached by the Colombian Milds in September 2021 is the highest monthly average since 244.14 US cents/lb recorded in February 2012. It also represents a rise of 55.8% from 154.28 cents/lb recorded in October 2020. Prices for the Other Milds increased by 4.3% to 225.54 US cents/lb in September 2021 as compared to 216.24 US cents/lb in August 2021, which is the highest monthly average since 237.21 US cents/lb registered in January 2012. Moreover, compared to its level of 152.06 US cents/lb in October 2020, the Other Milds indicator increased by 48.3%. The monthly average price of the Brazilian Naturals reached 183.72 US cents/lb in September 2021; a 5% increase as compared to 174.89 US cents/lb in August 2021. The average monthly price for Brazilian Naturals in September 2021, which represents an increase of 83% from October 2020, is the highest since 197.05 US cents/lb recorded in October 2014.
The differential between Colombian Milds and Other Milds increased substantially, rising by 62% from 9.16 US cents/lb in August 2021 to 14.84 US cents/lb in September 2021. The differential between Colombian Milds and Brazilian Naturals increased by 12.2%, from 50.51 US cents/lb in August 2021 to 56.66 US cents/lb in September 2021. The differential between Colombian Milds and Robustas increased by 4.3%, from 130.22 cents/lb in August 2021 to 135.78 US cents/lb in September 2021. The differential between Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals increased by 1.1% to 41.82 US cents/lb in September 2021 from 41.35 US cents/lb in August 2021.
As the increase in Robusta price was higher than that of prices of Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals, the differentials between the two Arabica groups decreased by 0.1% and 0.7%. This was reflected in the behaviour of futures markets. The arbitrage between Arabica and Robusta coffees, as measured on the New York and London futures markets, decreased by 0.8% at 96.39 US cents/lb in September 2021, as compared with 97.20 US cents/lb in August 2021. Although coffee prices continued to increase, volatility weakened in September 2021. Intra-day volatility of the ICO composite indicator price fell by 8.6 percentage points to 8.2% in September 2021. The Brazilian Naturals indicator showed a volatility of 10.5% in September 2021, as compared to 21.8% in August 2021. The Colombian Milds and Other Milds recorded the same level of volatility at 9.1% in September 2021, as compared to 18.4% and 17.5% recorded respectively in August 2021. Robusta price had the lowest volatility at 7.5% in September 2021, as compared to 15.8% in August 2021. The volatility of New York futures market was 10.1% in September 2021, as compared to 21.1% in August 2021. The volatility of London futures market decreased by 3 percentage points to 7.8%, as compared to 10.8% in August 2021.
Estimates of total production for coffee year 2020-21 remain unchanged at 169.6 million 60-kg bags, representing a 0.4% increase as compared to 169.0 million bags during the previous coffee year. While Arabica production increased by 2.3% to 99.3 million bags, a 2.1% reduction has been recorded in the production of Robusta coffee to 70.4 million bags. At the regional level, African output will remain at the same level of 18.7 million bags recorded in previous coffee year. Production for Asia & Oceania will fall by 1.1% from 49.5 million bags in 2019-20 to 48.9 million in 2020-21. Production in Central America and Mexico is expected to decrease by 2.1% at 19.2 million bags against 19.60 million bags in coffee year 2019-20. An increase of 1.9% in production is expected from South America at 82.8 million bags, as compared to 81.2 million bags in 2019-20.
Harvesting for crop year 2020-21 has been completed in all producing countries and the focus of the market is expected to turn to output from crop year 2021-22 as well as from 2022-23. The uncertainty created by weather-related shocks and potential disruptions in trade flows from stricter pandemic-related measures has become a serious threat to the regularity of green coffee supply. Moreover, increasing production costs, including fertilizers and labour costs are expecting to reduce growers’ current gains from increased prices and slow down investments in production.
Exports of all forms of coffee in August 2021 totalled 10.12 million bags, marginally down compared to 10.13 million bags in August 2020. The 2.2% decline in the exports of Arabica from 6.4 million bags in August 2020 to 6.3 million bags in August 2021 was offset by an increase by 3.6% of Robusta coffee exports from 3.69 million bags in August 2020 to 3.8 million bags in August 2021. The steepest decrease was recorded by Brazilian Naturals, down from 3.4 million bags in August 2020 to 2.8 million bags in August 2021. Over the same period, exports of Other Milds and Colombian Milds increased by 27.5% and 1.8% respectively.
Cumulative exports of all forms of coffee during the first eleven months of coffee year 2020-21 (October 2020 – August 2021) increased by 1.9% to 118.96 million bags, as compared to 116.77 million bags during the same period in coffee year 2019-20. Cumulative exports of green coffee amounted to 107.85 million bags in the first eleven months of coffee year 2020-21, an increase of 2.5% as compared to 105.25 million bags for the same period in coffee year 2019-20. The pattern of total exports by exporting countries is still dominated by green coffee, which represented 90.7% and 90.1% of total exports, respectively, during coffee years 2020-21 and 2019-20.
In terms of regional performance during the first eleven months of coffee year 2020-21, cumulative exports of South America increased by 5.5% to 54.74 million bags as compared to 51.87 million bags in 2019-20. Exports by Brazil increased by 8.5% to 39.89 million bags from 36.77 million bags in 2019-20. Exports by Colombia remained stable at 11.75 million bags. Total exports of Peru declined by 9% to 2.66 million in 2020-21 from 2.92 million in the same period in 2019-20.
Exports of Asia & Oceania over the first eleven months of coffee year 2020-21 fell by 4.2% from 37.11 million bags in October 2019 to August 2020 to 35.55 million bags in 2020-21. Exports decreased in Vietnam from 24.88 million bags in 2019-20 to 22.84 million bags in 2020-21. Exports of India increased by 8.1% from 4.91 million bags in 2019-20 to 5.31 million bags in 2020-21.
Cumulative exports from Central America and Mexico during the first eleven months of coffee year 2020-21 increased by 4.1% to 15.89 million bags, as compared to 15.26 million bags over the same period during coffee year 2019-20. Honduras is slowly recovering from two natural disasters caused by hurricanes Iota and Eta with its cumulative exports increasing by 5% to 5.63 million bags in 2020-21 as compared to 5.37 million bags in 2019-20. Nicaragua, which suffered the same climatic disasters as Honduras, has recorded a 5.9% decline of exports from 2.65 million bags in 2019-20 to 2.50 million bags in 2020-21. Export volume increases of 12.2%, 4.5% and 2.5% were observed in Guatemala, Mexicou and Costa Rica, respectively. An increase of 3.3% was also observed in El Salvador.
Cumulative exports by Africa increased by 2% to 12.78 million bags as compared to 12.53 million bags in 2019-20. Exports rose in Uganda (22%), Tanzania (22.2%) and Kenya (10.7%). Over the same period exports decreased by 13.5% and 47.2% in Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire respectively.
World coffee consumption is resuming its steady growth of the last 10 years, before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. It is projected to rise by 1.9% to 167.26 million bags in 2020-21 as compared to 164.13 million bags for coffee year 2019-20. With the prospect of further easing of pandemic restrictions related to covid-19 and subsequent prospects of economic recovery, world consumption is expected to continue growing. Over the last 10 coffee years the average growth of world consumption has been 1.9% per year. The inelasticity of world consumption is expected to tighten the demand and supply ratio and increase the possibility of the current upward trends of coffee prices continuing.
For the full report, visit: ico.org.