Some coffee market notes from December

Following the positive export figures from neighbouring Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Cost Rica, the authorities in Nicaragua have announced that the countries November coffee exports were 40.14% lower than the same month last year, at a total of 21,575 bags.  They have likewise announced that their cumulative coffee exports for the first two months of this new October 2011 to September 2012 coffee year were 28.45% lower than the same period in the previous coffee year, at a total of 59,019 bags.  This is no reflection on the size of the new crop that is presently in full harvest, as forecasts are that this new crop shall be biennially bearing larger by approximately 16% and therefore, a new crop of near to 1.46 million bags.

Arabica Price Chart last 5 Years

Ahead of the impact of the new coffee crops from Colombian, Mexican and Central American crops, the port warehouse green coffee stocks in the U.S.A. predictably declined during the month of November, with these stocks having declined by 251,525 bags or 5.64%, to register end month stocks at 4,207,891 bags.  These stocks do not include transit coffees in bulk containers (like ours) or on site roaster inventory stocks and one might suggest to add approximately 800,000 bags of stock cover at the time, which would indicate that the coffee stocks within the country at the end of the month would equate to approximately 11 weeks of roasting activity.  Thus ahead of the new crop coffees that are now starting to flow in greater volume, a very safe coverage at hand and the decline of coffee stocks last month cannot really be seen to be a matter of any concern.

The Cameroun Cocoa and Coffee Board are actively working to inspire their coffee farmers, following something of a disastrous year and with what they estimate to have been a 43% lower crop.  The Board are blaming the problem partly on the distraction of the high cocoa prices that came with the problems of supply from the Ivory Coast and this commodity having attracted more interest and investment into their cocoa crops, by many farmers.  They are nevertheless working on national distribution of farm inputs to their coffee farmers and with the aid of extension services and seminars, to inspire more care and concentration on coffee farming.

With their new crop coming into its main harvest, the National Coffee Association in Guatemala have reduced their forecast for this new crop by 2.26%, to a figure of 3.45 million bags.  This reduction they relate to the heavy rains that occurred some weeks ago, but one might suggest that this report could in terms of the lower value of the reference prices of the New York market, be somewhat market manipulative in nature.  While there are still some trade and industry forecasts for this new crop, which talk in terms of a crop that shall be approximately 3.7 million bags.

Burundi have reported a relatively good income from this year’s crop, albeit that it was a near to 46% biennially bearing lower crop of a relatively modest 217,000 bags. The next year’s crop can be expected to recover to something in the region of 400,000 bags and perhaps even more, with farmers gaining support to improve their farm husbandry and inputs.  Authorities are targeting a production to over 700,000 bags per annum, in the coming years.

The latest Commitment of Traders report from the New York washed Arabica coffee market has seen the shorter term in nature Managed Money funds within the market sharply reduce their net long position by 49.11% in the week of trade leading up to Tuesday 13th December, to register a net long of 6,726 Lots, on the day.  The longer term in nature and steadier Index Fund sector of the market meanwhile reduced their net long within the market by a modest 1.07% over the same week, to register a net long of 35,911 Lots.

The speculative Non Commercial sector of this market had meanwhile liquidated their modest net long of 1,461 Lots that was registered on Tuesday 6th December and sold the market short over the following week of trade, to register a net short sold position of 6,877 Lots, by last Tuesday.  This net short sold position albeit within an environment of very thin trade, has most likely been further extended by now, with this speculative sell off having contributed to the market hitting new lows for the year on Friday.

The Brazil dock workers in the country’s leading coffee port of Santos have gained an acceptable pay day and therefore the threat of strike is over, which eliminates any fears of disruption in terms of coffee shipments into the New Year.  This news also impacts upon the Sugar, Soybean and Orange Juice markets, as the port is also the main conduit for these important Brazilian export commodities.

Summary the commodity price of Arabica is slowly returning to manageable rates, which means that the non-commercial prices will follow eventually even if they are not currently. This is the rate we normally are subject too, with our Columbian coffees costing 4 times more than they did in 2010

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