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Arabica coffee prices - will they fall below $1 in 2014?

Arabica coffee prices had a dismal 2013, falling by some 20%, pressed by a strong crop in Brazil, the top producing country, and growing momentum in the output recovery in second ranked Colombia from a downturn prompted by a mass replanting programme.

The world appears to have managed a production surplus despite the rust outbreak in Central America.

New York arabica coffee futures at one point threatened to fall below 100 cents a pound for the first time since 2006, before their narrowing premium over robusta helped stoke some late-year recovery.

Will the revival continue in 2014? Or are producers set for more of the low prices which have prompted civil unrest, and concerns about rural economies in producing countries?


"In 2013, Brazil posted a record high for production in such a low-yield year and in all probability will post a record-high for production in a high-yield year in 2014.

Commerzbank forecasts for arabica coffee prices, 2014

Q1: 105 cents a pound

Q2: 100 cents a pound

Q3: 105 cents a pound

Q4: 110 cents a pound

Forecasts for quarter average, front New York futures contract
"In terms of aggregate coffee volume this could translate to an increase of 10m bags to 57m bags, and some estimates even go as high as 60m bags or more. That is anything but a signal of scarcity.

"As a minimum, the current low price phase will lead to lower yields in the medium term due to scrimping on fertilizer and crop protection. Thus, for the longer run, the International Coffee Organization views the assumption of a higher coffee supply as questionable.

"But at present, it seems there could also be surpluses in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

"The more diminished outlook for the years thereafter should, however, allow prices to rise slowly, so that after an intermittent low during the Brazilian harvest in 2014 we expect the price of coffee to recover."


"Despite the recent strength in arabica, which is more to do with spillover strength from robusta, we expect prices to correct into the first half of 2014.

"Brazil's outlook for the 2014 'on' crop looks promising, while Colombia's strong rebound in supplies will help offset losses in Central America. As global stocks remain more than comfortable, prices will be rangebound.

"From the second half of the year, incremental roaster demand may skew towards arabica, and prices that are below production costs may deter supply growth."


"Arabica coffee prices are expected to ease throughout 2013 on a third year of surplus production and producer currency weakness.


Rabobank forecasts for arabica coffee prices, 2014

Q1: 105 cents a pound

Q2: 100 cents a pound

Q3: 90 cents a pound

Q4: 95 cents a pound

Forecasts for quarter average, front New York futures contract

We expect a further 14% reduction in arabica prices during 2014, to 95 cents a pound in the fourth quarter, as production is forecast to exceed consumption by 3.2m bags in the 2013-14 season.

"We expect the weak arabica price outlook and subsequently narrow arabica-robusta spread to drive higher arabica blends in 2014, and consumption is forecast to rise by 1.6% year on year the largest increase since 2007-08.

"However, currency weakness for producers is likely to limit the upside for coffee price  throughout 2014."

Societe Generale

"The conclusion of the 2012-13 Colombian coffee harvest proved to be quite strong and trending well towards levels last seen in the 2007-08 crop year.

"Meanwhile, early weather in Brazil has laid the groundwork for a strong new crop. With this next crop year being an 'on year' for Brazilian coffee production, this increase will only add to the global surplus.

"We maintain that tightening will not be seen until at least the 2015-16 marketing year, barring any significant drop in Central American coffee production due to leaf rust disease.

"A key risk to our forecasts is that the currently low coffee prices experienced by farmers could lead them away from investing in their crops, driving down production, and increasing coffee prices."

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