Asia drives demand for coffee, Arab imports also up

Overview of the world coffee production and consumption presented at the Coffee Summit on Wednesday shows that the Chinese market is promising for producers. Brazilian exports to the Arab countries grow above average.

Isaura Daniel

São Paulo – The world’s most promising demand for coffee is in Asia, especially China, but Brazil has found its sales to the Arab countries increasing above average. “The Middle East market is very important for Brazil; we export a lot. Brazil produces a certain kind of Arabica coffee that is greatly appreciated in the Arab market. We have excellent partners in the Middle East,” said Brazilian Coffee Exporters Council (CECAFÉ) president Nelson Carvalhaes in a interview to ANBA during Coffee Summit, an event that occurred on Wednesday (29) in São Paulo.

According to Carvalhaes (pictured above, in the pulpit), the goal is to increase Brazilian coffee sales to the Middle East, which are already growing above average. Year through April, Brazil’s general coffee exports grew 26.8% in volume and 3.5% in revenue, and for the Arabs they grew 39.8% in quantity and 8% in revenue. The extremely larger Asia also grew above average as a destination for Brazilian exports, up 29.9% in volume and 7.1% in revenue, according to CECAFÉ.

The current star in coffee consumption is China, according to a presentation on coffee production and world market given at Coffee Summit by the consulting firm INTL FCStone coffee analyst Fernando Maximiliano. “Aside from Asia and China, the demand growth is basically the same, it is quite stable, 2%-2.1% per year, in the Arab countries is more or less on that level,” said Maximiliano to our reporter. During his speech, Maximiliano said that China’s boom in coffee consumption is because the country is transitioning from tea to coffee consumption.

Maximiliano spoke about the coffee market

Based on the last five years, the annual average consumption growth in Asia and Oceania was 4.5%, with 39.6 million bags per year, as per data presented by INTL FCStone analyst. In Africa, the growth was 3.9%, but the market is much smaller, at 11.2 million bags. In Latin America, the percentage was 2.1%, with 29.6 million bags; in North America, 2.3%, with 33.9 million bags; and in Europe, 1.1%, with 49.2 million bags. Europe is the world’s greatest coffee consumer, followed by the United States and Brazil.

Despite the exciting news on Asian demand, coffee producers from Brazil and all over the world have been through a difficult period, with extremely low prices. According to Maximiliano, for some producing regions in Brazil, the price is close to the production cost. “The market is confident there is a great coffee offer and feels like it is going to continue,” he explained. Stocks are high and their formation grows more than its use. “The offer grows faster than the demand,” he says.

The notion that the offer will continue to be high is confirmed by good estimates from important producing countries such as Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Coffee production worldwide of the 2018/2019 crop will be 174.5 million bags against 158.8 million bags in 2017/2018, up 9.8%. Consumption will be 163.6 million bags against 160.3 million bags in the previous period, up 2%. So, with the production growing well above the demand, final stock will be 37.1 million bags in the 2018/2019 crop against 29.9 million bags in 2017/2018, up 24%.

Besides the satisfying offer and stock, Maximiliano mentioned other contributing factors of coffee price depreciation, such as the sold positions of the funds associated with the product in the capital market. For him, factors for the future fall in coffee prices include Brazil’s production volume – despite the predicted fall in 2019/2020 crop over 2018/2019 due to it being a two-year culture, it will still be large – and Vietnam’s record production. As factors for a possible hike, Maximiliano mentions the occurrence of climatic anomalies and frosts, or discouraged producers due to the price.

Coffee Summit featured other lecturers, including the economist and Central Bank of Brazil former president Gustavo Franco, who spoke about where the Brazilian economy is heading during the new government. The event was opened by CECAFÉ president, who said the organization is proud to see Brazil supplying the world with high-quality coffee. The discussions during the encounter were focused on quality and sustainability, which, according to Carvalhaes, are also cornerstones of the council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019.

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

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