Wednesday 17 April 2024
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ICO Report shows downward trend for Arabicas, new sharp increase for Robusta prices

The ICO Composite Indicator Price (I-CIP) lost 2.4% from May to June 2023, averaging 171.25 US cents/lb for the latter, whilst posting a median value of 172.92 US cents/lb. Average prices for all group indicators decreased in June 2023, with the Robustas being an exception and gaining 7.8%, averaging 132.13 US cents/lb. The Colombian Milds-Other Milds differential contracted by 34.5% to 4.46 US cents/lb. In June 2023, the Colombian Milds-Other Milds Arabica differential has been narrowing considerably. In the latter third of June, the differential averaged -2.57 US cents/lb. Global green bean exports in May 2023 totalled 9.56 million bags, as compared with 9.61 million bags in the same month of the previous year, down 0.6%

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LONDON, UK – The monthly average of the ICO Composite Indicator price was 2.4% down in June reflecting the recent downward trend in Arabica prices, but Robusta indicators rose sharply for the seventh consecutive month posting new historic highs. According to data shown in ICO’s latest report, the monthly indicator for Robusta prices surged 7.8% to 132.13 cents per lb, the highest level on record since February 1995.

The London indicator also increased by 5.9% to 119.23 cents. On the other hand, Arabica indicators were strongly down.

DVG De Vecchi

The Colombian Milds indicator fell 6.6% to 211.85 cents, its lowest level this year. Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals lost 5.8% and 5.5% respectively.

The New York indicator decreased by 4.7%. World coffee exports recovered slightly in May to 10,695 million bags, up 1.4% from the same month of 2022.

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Estimates for world coffee production and consumption in coffee year 2022/23 were left unchanged at 171,268 and 178,534 million bags.

These figures would translate in a new deficit of 7.12 million bags, similar to that recorded in the previous coffee year. Here follows the text of the report.

The ICO Composite Indicator Price (I-CIP) lost 2.4% from May to June 2023, averaging 171.25 US cents/lb for the latter, whilst posting a median value of 172.92 US cents/lb. In June 2023, the ICIP fluctuated between 158.47 and 182.04 US cents/lb.

The I-CIP remained in a strong position, albeit losing 15 US cents/lb in the latter half of the month due to mounting pressure from the falling New York Futures market on the reports of favourable weather conditions assisting with the current harvest.

Furthermore, since the beginning of this year, the US dollar has been weakening against the Brazilian Real, falling from R$5.36 on 2 January to R$5.06 on 31 May, down 5.9%. However, in June, the US dollar fell by an additional 6.3%, decreasing to R$4.76 on 26 June, adding to the downward momentum of the I-CIP and applying pressure on the Brazilian Naturals.

Despite strengthening of the BRL, where conventionally Brazilian Naturals might see an uptick in price, they contracted 11.4% in the month of June, hinting that the current and upcoming favourable weather in the region outweighs the USD/BRL variation. The Robustas, on the other hand, have been supported by a strong London market, where the arbitrage has declined to a twoand-a-half-year low, as the rate of growth outpaces that of the Arabicas.

Average prices for all group indicators decreased in June 2023, with the Robustas being an exception, gaining 7.8% and averaging 132.13 US cents/lb. The Colombian Milds and Other Milds decreased by 6.6% and 5.8%, to 211.85 and 207.39 US cents/lb, respectively, in June 2023.

The Brazilian Naturals contracted by 5.5%, reaching an average of 176.48 US cents/lb. ICE’s New York market fell by 4.7%, whilst the London Futures market grew by 5.9% to 174.54 and 119.23 US cents/lb, respectively.

The Colombian Milds-Other Milds differential contracted by 34.5% to 4.46 US cents/lb. The Colombian Milds-Brazilian Naturals and Colombian Milds-Robustas differentials both contracted 11.9 % and 23.6% from May to June 2023, averaging 35.36 and 79.72 US cents/lb in the latter month, respectively.

The Other Milds-Brazilian Naturals differential presented a more moderate loss of 7.3%, averaging 30.90 US cents/lb. However, the Other Milds-Robustas and Brazilian Naturals-Robustas both contracted by 22.9% to 75.26 US cents/lb and by 31.0% to 44.36 US cents/lb, respectively.

In June 2023, the Colombian Milds-Other Milds Arabica differential has been narrowing considerably where, in the latter third of June, the differential averaged -2.57 US cents/lb. The Colombian Milds declined at rate of 13.4% in June, whilst the Other Milds contracted at the rate of 9.6% for the same month.

The faster rate of decline of the Colombian Milds compared to the Other Milds had a knock-on effect for the last seven business days of the month. The Colombian Milds-Other Milds differential turned negative, making the Other Milds more expensive than the Colombian Milds. This trend feeds into a wider phenomenon, where the Arabica and Robusta prices have been decoupled, with the Robustas benefitting from a price-driven demand substitution for cheaper coffee versus the higher-quality and priced Arabicas.

However, it is important to note that only Colombia, Kenya and Tanzania produce Colombian Milds, thereby making any shifts on the demand side more noticeable due to the smaller share of the total Arabica production. Thus, due to strong demand for Robustas in the month of June, they lost a marginal 1.8%, albeit exhibiting the highest monthly average since February 1995.

The current Arabica-Robusta differentials are at their lowest point since October 2020, where demand for higher end qualities has waned in favour of more competitively-priced coffees. Groups of coffee with varying qualities are seeing their differentials tighten throughout the board. This convergence marks a three-and-a-half-year low for the Colombian Milds-Brazilian Naturals, Colombian Milds-Robustas, Other Milds-Brazilian Naturals and Other Milds-Robustas differentials.

The tightening of the spread between different growths can be attributed to the global increase in interest rates, actioned by the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the US Treasury. This has the direct effect of making money more expensive to borrow, thereby limiting extensive leverage to coffee supply chain stakeholders as interest rate repayment fees eat disproportionately into operations profits. In turn, this limits how big purchasing budgets can be, with buyers focusing on more competitive origins and shying away from the more expensive growths.

The trend of consumers and manufacturers shifting towards cheaper Robustas, due to the high cost of living, and the greater availability of coffee due to the ongoing harvest of the world’s largest Arabica producer (Brazil), may together explain the Arabica differentials being at a three-and-a-half-year low, in addition to a continuous rise in the price of Robustas.

Arbitrage, as measured between the London and New York Futures markets, contracted by 22.6% to 50.31 US cents/lb in June 2023 as the Robusta growth rate outstripped the New York Market. This marks the lowest point since November 2020, where arbitrage sat at 52.66 US cents/lb.

Intra-day volatility of the I-CIP followed a consistent downtrend, reaching 8.1%, a 0.5 percentage point decrease between May and June 2023. The Other Milds and Robustas presented the strongest volatility increases, with a 0.8 percentage point expansion, averaging 11.1% and 8.2% for the month of June.

Whilst the Colombian Milds’ and Brazilian Naturals’ volatility contracted to 8.2% and 9.5%, the Robustas’ volatility expanded by 0.8 percentage points to 8.2% from May to June 2023.

However, the London and New York futures markets’ volatility moved in the opposite direction from one another, retracting by 0.8 percentage points and reaching 9.6% for New York, whilst the Robusta contraction averaged 8.2% in June 2023, a 0.7 percentage point increase.

The New York and London certified stocks decreased in tandem by 8.5% and 9.7%, respectively, closing in at 0.60 million 60-kg bags, whilst certified stocks of Robusta coffee reached 1.25 million 60-kg bags.

Exports by Coffee Groups – Green Beans

Global green bean exports in May 2023 totalled 9.56 million bags, as compared with 9.61 million bags in the same month of the previous year, down 0.6%. The downturn was driven by the Colombian Milds and the Brazilian Naturals. This is the sixth consecutive month of negative growth for total exports of green beans since the start of coffee year 2022/23.

As a result, the cumulative total for 2022/23 to May is 74.59 million bags, as compared with 79.01 million bags over the same period a year ago, down 5.6%. Shipments of the Other Milds increased by 8.7% in May 2023 to 2.57 million bags from 2.36 million bags in the same period last year.

This is the second month of positive growth for green bean exports of the Other Milds since March 2022, when it increased by 1.9%. Despite the rebound, the cumulative volume of exports continued to fall, decreasing by 10.5% in the first eight months of coffee year 2022/23 to 13.77 million bags versus 15.38 million bags over the same period in 2021/22.

Green bean exports of the Brazilian Naturals fell in May 2023, falling by 14.8% to 2.43 million bags. For the first eight months of coffee year 2022/23, green bean exports of the Brazilian Naturals amounted to 23.4 million bags, down 9.8% from 25.93 million bags over the same period a year ago.

Changes to the fortunes of the Brazilian Naturals are mainly due to changes in Brazil’s green bean exports, the biggest producer and exporter of the Brazilian Naturals, which also fell in May 2023 (-16.2%) to 2.12 million bags from 2.53 million bags in May 2022.

Exports of the Colombian Milds decreased by 7.2% to 0.91 million bags in May 2023 from 0.98 million bags in May 2022, driven primarily by Colombia, the main origin of this group of coffee, whose exports of green beans were down 10.3% in May 2023.

This is the eleventh consecutive month of negative growth for the Colombian Milds and, as a result, the exports of this group of coffee for October 2022 to May 2023 were down 14.1%, at 7.28 million bags, as compared with 8.48 million bags in the first eight months of coffee year 2021/22.

Green bean exports of the Robustas amounted to 3.65 million bags in May 2023, as compared with 3.42 million bags in May 2022, up 6.8%. In the first eight months of coffee year 2022/23, 30.13 million bags of Robustas were exported as compared with 29.22 million bags in the same period in 2021/22.

Exports by Regions – All Forms of Coffee

In May 2023, South America’s exports of all forms of coffee decreased by 11.5% to 3.47 million bags, driven by the three main origins of the region, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, which saw their combined exports fall by 12.29%. The two major origins of the region, Brazil and Colombia, saw their respective shipments of coffee decrease by 12.2% and 10.6% in May 2023, falling to 2.46 million and 0.85 million bags.

In both countries, the availability of supply is the reason behind the decreases in their respective exports. Heavy rain led to a 21% fall in production in May 2023 in Colombia, while Brazil’s supply is relatively tight due to the two consecutive years of below-par harvests, especially in the current 2022/23 season which has been hampered by both frost and droughts.

Peru is continuing to see its exports fall at a significantly faster rate, plunging by 24.9% in May 2023. Again, erratic weather played a part in Peru’s downturn, in addition to continuing social unrest which began in December 2022. However, the main reason behind the exceptional rate of decrease in May 2023 is mechanical.

The May 2022 growth rate was up 54.7% at 137,948 bags, while the average volume of exports for May in 2014–2021 was 97,969 bags and 103,649 in May 2023, a 5.7% increase when compared against the average.

Exports of all forms of coffee from Africa decreased by 7.2% to 1.14 million bags in May 2023 from 1.23 million bags in May 2022. For the first eight months of the current coffee year, exports totalled 8.1 million bags as compared with 8.6 million bags in coffee year 2021/22, down 5.8%.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia are the main drivers behind the fall in the region’s exports, with their combined shipments decreasing by 19.4% to 0.45 million bags as compared with 0.56 million bags in May 2022. In Ethiopia, contract disputes arising out of a mismatch between the local purchasing prices and global market prices have been affecting the volume of exports since the early months of 2023, with exporters withholding the coffee until the disputes are resolved.

In May 2023, exports of all forms of coffee from Mexico & Central America were up 12.4% to 2.14 million bags as compared with 1.91 million in May 2022. This latest month of positive growth is the third in the first eight months of the current coffee year.

As a result, the rate of decrease of the cumulative total has decelerated sharply, up to 2.1% in the first eight months of the current coffee year, totalling 10.03 million bags, as compared with 5.4% rate of fall for the first seven months.

Honduras was the main driver of the positive growth in May 2023, up 58.0%, to 0.83 million bags from 0.52 million bags in May 2022, the biggest rate of growth for the month of May since its 80.4% increase in 2000. This large jump in exports was mainly due to two factors.

The first was mechanical, reflecting the 37.3% year-on-year (YOY) decrease in exports in May 2022, while the second was logistical, where deliveries scheduled for April 2023 were delayed to May. In the first eight months of the current coffee year, Honduras has exported 3.58 million bags, as compared with 3.33 million bags in 2021/22, up 7.5%.

Exports of all forms of coffee from Asia & Oceania increased by 13.1% to 3.94 million bags in May 2023 and were up 3.2% to 31.73 million bags in the first eight months of coffee year 2022/23. Indonesia is the main source of the strong positive growth rate of the region, with exports increasing by 171.7% in May 2023, which in turn is a reflection of the 52.8% YOY fall in May 2022.

Indonesia’s average exports for May amount to 0.54 million bags (2017–2021), though these fell to 0.23 million bags in May 2022 before leaping back up to 0.62 million bags in May 2023, the fourth highest volume for the month on record. Measured against the average (2017–2021), the May 2023 exports are up 14.9%, more in line with the year-to-date growth rate of 8.1% (October–May 2022/2023 vs 2021/22).

Exports of Coffee by Forms

Total exports of soluble coffee increased by 24.6% in May 2023 to 1.07 million bags from 0.86 million bags in May 2022. In the first eight months of coffee year 2022/23, a total of 7.93 million bags of soluble coffee were exported, representing a decrease of 0.4% from the 7.96 million bags exported in the same period during the previous coffee year. Soluble coffee’s share in the total exports of all forms of coffee was 9.6% (measured on a moving 12-month average) in May 2023, up from 9.0% in May 2022. Brazil is the largest exporter of soluble coffee, shipping 0.32 million bags in May 2023.

Exports of roasted beans were down 4.8% in May 2023 to 72,925 bags, as compared with 68,003 bags in May 2022. The cumulative total for coffee year 2022/23 to May 2023 was 0.48 million bags, as compared with 0.52 million bags in same period a year ago.

Production and Consumption

The estimates and outlook for production and consumption for coffee years 2021/22 and 2022/23 remain the same. World coffee production decreased by 1.4% to 168.5 million bags in coffee year 2021/22, hampered by the off-biennial production and negative meteorological conditions in a number of key origins. However, it is expected to bounce back by 1.7% to 171.3 million bags in 2022/23.

Increased global fertiliser costs and adverse weather conditions are expected to partially offset the positive impact of biennial production from Brazil, explaining the relatively low rate of growth in coffee year 2022/23. The impact of biennial production is anticipated to drive the outlook for Arabica, which is projected to increase by 4.6% to 98.6 million bags in coffee year 2022/23, following a 7.2% decrease in the previous coffee year.

Reflecting its cyclical output, Arabica’s share of the total coffee production is expected to increase to 57.5% from 55.9% in coffee year 2021/22. South America is and will remain the largest producer of coffee in the world, despite suffering from the largest drop in output for almost 20 years, which fell by 7.6% in coffee year 2021/22. The recovery in coffee year 2022/23, partly driven by biennial production, is expected to push the region’s output to 82.4 million bags, a rise of 6.2%.

World coffee consumption increased by 4.2% to 175.6 million bags in coffee year 2021/22, following a 0.6% rise the previous year. Release of the pent-up demand accumulated during the COVID-19 years and sharp global economic growth of 6.0% in 2021 explains the sharp bounce back in coffee consumption in coffee year 2021/22.

Decelerating world economic growth rates for 2022 and 2023, coupled with the dramatic rise in the cost of living, will have an impact on the coffee consumption for coffee year 2022/23. It is expected to grow, but at a decelerating rate of 1.7% to 178.5 million bags.

The global deceleration is expected to come from nonproducing countries, with Europe’s coffee consumption predicted to suffer the largest decrease among all regions, with growth rates falling to 0.1% in coffee year 2022/23 from a 6.0% expansion in coffee year 2021/22.

Balance. As a result, the world coffee market is expected to run another year of deficit, a shortfall of 7.3 million bags.

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