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Coffee futures ease, as ICO shows rising exports

Coffee prices fell, under pressure from a weak Brazilian currency and evidence of rising exports at the end of last year.

Global coffee exports rose 8.3% in the first three months of the 2016-17 crop year, the International Coffee Organization said.

The ICO reported global coffee exports at 29.77m 60-kg bags from the start of the global coffee season in October until the end of December, compared to 27.49m bags over the same period a year ago.

Higher exports

Exports of both arabica and robusta coffee rose.

Arabica exports rose 7.4% year-on-year in December, to 6,542 bags. Robusta coffee exports were up 6.3%, at 3,624 bags.

Arabica and robusta exports in the season to December 31 were 8.5% and 7.9% respectively.

There was additional pressure on coffee from the plummeting Brazilian real, down 0.8% against the dollar, and discouraging producer sales in the world's top coffee

March arabica futures were down 1.1% in mid-day deals in New York, at 149.50 cents a pound.

Tight robusta markets

But robusta coffee futures saw smaller losses, supported by tightness in the market.

Wire reports suggested that a shortage in robusta is threatening instant coffee production in Brazil, the world's top exporter of the product, after droughts in the main robusta area.

Cia Cacique de Café Solúvel, Brazil's number one exporter of instant coffee, is holding back from closing new export deals due to uncertainty over robusta coffee supplies, the newswire Reuters said.

Reuters said that the company's export sales director was holding back on deals for May shipment, as he is not certain if the company will find raw material to process.  

Cacique's export sales director Pedro Guimarăes Fernandes told Reuters on Monday that Brazil's robusta supply crisis is 'very serious' and that without an opening to imports soluble shipments will start to plunge soon.

'Less on offer'

Jack Scoville, at Price Futures Group, noted traders turning to Central America in search of robusta supplies.

"The lack of offers from Vietnam and the super high asking prices from there have caused the demand shift," Mr Scoville said.

"There are reports of less offer from Brazil and from robusta producing countries," he added.

March robusta coffee were down 0.8%, at $2,220 a tonne, in late deals in London.

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