Coffee lovers, here’s something to be grateful about. Unlike paper towels, disinfectant or yeast, coffee has never been hard to find during the pandemic.
It has remained widely available on supermarket shelves even though COVID-19 has been particularly bad in some of the world’s largest coffee growing nations. Brazil, which has recorded more cases than any nation other than the United States, is the world’s top producer of coffee. India, Mexico and Colombia all rank in the top ten globally for both COVID cases and coffee production. Other major coffee exporters including Peru and Uganda have found themselves cut off by border closures and lockdowns.
“It’s natural to think that the harvesting of the coffee crops may be disrupted or perhaps badly disrupted,” says Steven Hurst, a coffee trader based in London. “But quite honestly and quite frankly, we’ve seen relatively little, if any, evidence of that.”
For Peru, there are no international flights, and many coffee regions only recently began to have domestic air service. Lockdowns have been very strict, yet cases have been some of the highest in the world. The bigger exporters & Cooperatives with previous contracts have been doing well, but the small farmers that have no long term commitments are suffering.
For us, it meant no trip to Peru this summer, and uncertainty as to when we’ll be able to return.
Drug dealers are always looking for ingenious ways to get their products past checkpoints, and sometimes they exhibit some truly outside-the-box thinking. The attention of Italian customs officers at Malpensa Airport was recently drawn by a small package from Colombia to a man named Santino D’Antonio.
If you’re not an action flick buff, that name most likely means nothing to you, but if you’re a fan of John Wick movies starring Keanu Reeves, you probably recognize it as the name of the mafia boss and main antagonist in John Wick 2. Luckily, the officers recognized the name, and decided to inspect the package more thoroughly…
This may be why when we import coffee, we have to pay for a contraband exam… The best part of waking up?
An unintended consequence of the virus-induced recession, lockdowns, and people working from home is a massive demand shift from expensive coffee beans, commonly found at Starbucks, and called arabica, to cheap beans, found in instant coffee, called robusta.
The shift in coffee demand is bad news for Starbucks, that’s why it announced, last month, over 400 stores will be closing in the next 18 months. The world’s largest coffeehouse must shrink its corporate footprint as the economy evolves to where workers are staying home and are reducing costs to weather the economic storm.
The shift in demand is being seen in surging Robusta coffee prices on ICE. In the last 19 sessions, September contracts have gone parabolic, up 19%, hitting 1,363 on Thursday morning, or a six month high.
The latest upswing in prices is because the virus-induced recession is “prompting a shift in consumption toward cheaper, instant coffee blends,” reported Reuters.
Coffee fundamentals indicate deteriorating demand and oversupplied conditions could soon pressure prices to 15-year lows.
A global surplus of 3.5 million bags is expected in 2020-21 as Brazil expects a record crop after a lower yield in 2019. To some degree, this had been anticipated by the market. Adding to concerns about a bulging supply imbalance, the Brazilian real has dropped 5% in the last few weeks versus the U.S. dollar.
Coffee farmers in Brazil who fear continued real weakness have an incentive to deliver more and more coffee for export, even at the current low prices. Expectations for demand growth, the one positive variable that had supported price increases, have been dialed back in light of the global pandemic.
Recent data from the International Coffee Organization revealed global arabica coffee exports of 82.75 million bags in 2019, a six percent increase over 2018, and growth had been expected to continue in 2020 until lockdowns tempered the optimism. – a Charles Schwab commodity report said, seen by FXStreet. Now knowing the bearish fundamental backdrop, Reuters Commodity Desk forecasts a significant “downward wave (c) ” that could result in coffee prices reaching $0.6380 per lb in the first half of 2021.
We can’t even go to Peru these days, but we’re hoping to soon. San Martin, where we are based, is under a stricter lockdown, and no flights are being allowed, and no firm date as to when flights will return.