Marex forecasts fourth straight global coffee deficit


Marex Spectron forecast global coffee production to undershoot demand by 3.0m 60-kg bags next season, thanks to lower production in top-grower Brazil, the fourth such deficit in a row.

"Already at this very early stage, it is probable that there will be a fourth deficit and possibly a large fourth deficit," Marex said, forecast a 5m bag fall-off in Brazilian production.

The broker forecast global coffee production to fall to 152.6m bags in 2017-17, down 900,000 bags from a year earlier.

Demand, meanwhile was seen rising by 1.9m bags, to 153.7m tonnes.

And Marex noted that unlike in previous years, "in 2017-18 there will be no government or private producer stocks to fill the gap".

Falling Brazilian production

Brazilian coffee production was forecast to fall by 5.0m bags, to 50.5m bags, thanks to lower arabica areas, and continued bad weather for the robusta crop in Espirito Santo.

And most of the Brazilian crop will be in an off-year next season.

Coffee has a biennial cycle, meaning that years alternate between heavy and light crops.

"All arabica regions except Zona da Mata will be in an off-cycle," Marex said.

"For arabica, we see little downside in New York from current prices" Marex said.

Heavier Vietnam crop

But a larger crop was anticipated in Vietnam, the world's second largest coffee producer, and the number-one ranked robusta producer.

The crop was seen rising by 3.5m bags, to 28.0m bags.

"2017-18 will be an on-cycle and high prices will provide a huge husbandry incentive," Marex said.

"In addition, soil moisture is excellent and reservoir levels have been restored by the unseasonal rains in Novever, December, and January."

Marex said that due to the prospect of heavy robusta stocks from Vietnam "the market has just swallowed a huge pill, and this needs to be digested".

"In the short term we cannot rule out a dip, but would look to buy any meaningful dip."

Robusta imports?

Brazil already has a shortage of robusta, after prolonged dry weather.

Markets are waiting to see if Brazil will allow the import of robusta to ease the tightness in the domestic market, particularly for instant coffee production.

This move is being strongly opposed by Brazilian robusta growers, who area benefiting from the high domestic prices.

Brazilian producers have committed to present a report to the country's agriculture ministry by Friday, to prove that there are sufficient robusta stocks to meet demand from roasters.

Waiting for news

"These discussions have developed as a result of the smaller drought affected robusta crop of last year and ahead of the new and forecast to be another smaller dry weather robusta crop that is due to begin harvest around three months' time," said coffee trader I&M Smith.

"Our understanding at the moment is that there will be no robusta imports to Brazil in the 2016-17 crop year," Marex said.

"Were this understanding to prove wrong however, and were Brazil to import robusta, there would be clear imprecations for the arbitrage."


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