Robusta Coffee Rallies To A 2-Week High On Increased Demand From Roasters

July arabica coffee (KCN23) this morning is up +2.05 (+1.12%), and July ICE robusta coffee (RMN23) is up +57 (+1.87%).

Coffee prices this morning are moderately higher, with robusta posting to a 2-week high.  A weaker dollar today (DXY00) is supportive of coffee prices.  Robusta is also finding support in increased demand from roasters who are substituting arabica beans for cheaper robusta beans in a variety in retail coffee blends to control production costs and shield consumers from inflation.

Tightness in robusta coffee supplies is supportive of robusta coffee futures.  Last month, July robusta posted a contract high, and near-futures robusta (K23) posted a record high (data from 2008).  Vietnam’s General Department of Vietnam Customs reported on May 28 that Vietnam’s May coffee exports rose +15.7% m/m at 165,000 MT.  However,  Jan-May Vietnam coffee exports are down -2.2% y/y at 882,000 MT.  Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of robusta coffee beans.  Also, the USDA’s FAS projected on May 22 that 2023/24 Indonesian robusta coffee production would fall -20% y/y to 8.4 mln bags after excessive rain hindered pollination.  Indonesia is the world’s third-largest robusta coffee producer.

Coffee prices also have support on concerns heavy rain in Brazil’s coffee-growing areas will slow the country’s coffee harvest.  Somar Meteorologia reported Monday that Brazil’s Minas Gerais region received 31.4 mm of rain in the week ended June 4, or 158% of the historical average.  Minas Gerais accounts for about 30% of Brazil’s arabica crop.

Smaller ICE arabica inventories are supportive of prices as ICE arabica coffee inventories have steadily declined over the past four months and fell to a 6-1/2 month low Tuesday of 557,304 bags.

An excessive long position by funds of robusta futures could provide fuel for any long liquidation pressures.  Last Friday’s weekly Commitment of Trader’s (COT) report showed funds boosted their net-long robusta coffee positions by 849 in the week ended May 30 to 43,854, a 16-month high.

Global coffee supplies have tightened after the International Coffee Organization (ICO) reported on May 4 that global 2022/23 coffee exports during Oct-Mar fell -6.4% y/y to 62.295 mln bags.  The Colombia Coffee Growers Federation May 4 that Colombian Apr coffee exports fell -15% y/y to 719,000 bags.  Also, Cecafe reported on May 11 that Brazil’s Apr green coffee exports dropped -14% y/y to 2.39 mln bags.  By contrast, Honduran May coffee exports soared +79% y/y to 1.2 million bags.  Honduras is Central America’s biggest exporter of arabica beans.

Coffee prices also have support as the odds of an El Nino weather event increased, which could undercut global coffee production.  On May 11, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center raised the likelihood of an El Nino weather pattern emerging between August and October to 94% from 74% a month ago.  If that El Nino pattern occurs, it could bring heavy rains to Brazil and drought to India, negatively impacting coffee crop production.

On the negative side for arabica was the projection from the USDA’s FAS on May 22 that Colombia’s 2023/24 coffee production would climb +2% to 11.6 mln bags.  Colombia is the world’s second-largest arabica bean producer.

A bearish factor for robusta coffee was the projection from the USDA’s FAS on May 18 that Vietnam’s 2023/24 coffee production would climb +5% to 31.3 mln bags.   Another negative factor is an increase in ICE-monitored robusta coffee inventories May 24 to a 5-3/4 month high.

Arabica has carryover support from May 18 when Conab cut its Brazil 2023 coffee crop estimate to 54.7 mln bags from 54.9 mln bags forecast in Jan.

Robusta has support on global supply concerns after coffee trader Volcafe forecasted the global 2023/24 robusta coffee market would see a record deficit of 5.6 mln bags.  In addition, the Association of Indonesian Coffee Exporters and Industries said that Indonesia would see its 2023 coffee production fall -20% y/y to 9.6 mln bags due to damage from excessive rainfall across its growing regions.

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) projects the global 2022/23 coffee market deficit will widen to -7.3 mln bags from a -7.1 mln bag deficit in 2021/22.  ICO projects that 2022/23 global coffee production will increase +1.7% y/y to 171.27 mln bags, and 2022/23 global coffee consumption will increase +1.7% y/y to 178.53 mln bags.

The USDA, in its bi-annual report released on December 23, cut its global 2022/23 coffee production estimate by -1.3% to 172.8 mln bags from a June estimate of 175.0 mln bags.  In addition, the USDA cut its 2022/23 global coffee ending stocks estimate by -1.7% to 34.1 mln bags from a June estimate of 34.7 mln bags.  Meanwhile, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) on November 22 cut its Brazil 2022/23 coffee production forecast by -2.6% to 62.6 mln bags from a prior estimate of 64.3 mln bags.  This year was supposed to be the higher-yielding year of Brazil’s biennial coffee crop, but the coffee output was slashed by drought.

Source: Rich Asplund - Barchart

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