ICO trims coffee output estimate, citing Mexican woes


The International Coffee Organization widened nearly to 8m tonnes its estimate for the coffee production deficit, warning that Mexico's persistent coffee rust outbreak had wrought more damage than thought.

The ICO cut by 1.45m bags to 143.3m bags its estimate for global coffee output in 2015-16, reducing to 1.0m bags the estimate for the recovery in production during the season, and taking it further below annual consumption pegged at 152.1m bags.

The downgrade reflected in part a small cut, of 200,000 bags, in the estimate for production of Brazilian naturals beans, in a season in which output in the South American country's main arabica-growing region remained depressed thanks to tree damage caused by drought.

However, the revision was "mostly due to a sharp reduction in output from Mexico", where production was pegged at 2.8m bags, cut by 1.1m bags from the previous estimate.

"This is attributed to the more severe than anticipated impact of coffee leaf rust, which has aggressively reduced output by more than a third since 2012-13.

Central American downturn

Indeed, Mexico has suffered a particularly badly from rust epidemic which has kept Central American output well below the 20m-bag level recorded for 2011-12.

Friday's Mexico downgrade, coupled with a small reduction to 1.8m bags in the estimate for Honduran output, cut to less than 16.8m bags the ICO estimate for production in Central America, including Mexico, in 2015-16.

That represents a drop of more than 500,000 bags year on year.

Stable supplies

However, the ICO flagged surprising stability in world supply of arabica output nonetheless – particularly of the washed arabica beans produced largely in Central America and Colombia, and excluding supplies of Brazilian naturals.

Production of washed arabica beans has now, for a fourth season, remained within a range of 40.3m-40.7m bags – although the stability in headline supplies disguises a notable shift in the fortunes of different origins.

"The supply of washed arabicas used by the specialty coffee sector has been stable over the last four years, with decreases in some origins, for example Mexico and Peru, compensated by increases in others, most importantly Colombia and Honduras.


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