Monthly Coffee Market Report
International Coffee Organization - March 2014
Ongoing uncertainty over the Brazilian coffee crop has caused significant fluctuations in coffee prices during March, with monthly volatility of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) composite indicator price exceeding 10% in both March and February. The daily price of the ICO composite ranged from a high of 177.29 US cents/lb to a low of 153.33 in less than ten days. The monthly average of 165.03 US cents/lb was nearly 20% higher than February, and the highest monthly level in two years. International prices remain unsteady and sensitive to weather events in Brazil.
In terms of fundamentals, world coffee consumption has continued to increase, with total demand in calendar year 2013 provisionally estimated at around 145.8 million bags. With total production in crop year 2013/14 estimated at 145.7 million bags, it seems likely that the market is heading towards a supply deficit. The most important variable at the moment is the size of the 2014/15 Brazilian crop, which is starting in April 2014; however, the damage resulting from the recent drought has yet to be officially quantified.
Coffee prices in March were characterized by significant volatility, with the ICO composite indicator increasing to 177.29 US cents/lb midway through the month, before dropping by 15.6% to 153.33 cents in the next eight days. The monthly average settled on 165.03 cents, an increase of 19.8% compared to February, and the highest monthly level since March 2012. These price developments have been driven primarily by the weather in Brazil; some scattered rainfall was recorded in the coffee growing areas, curtailing the rapid price increases of the last two months, but prices remain highly unstable. Furthermore, it is difficult to estimate the extent of the damage from the drought and high heat until the crop is being harvested, although a recent study has referred to it as the largest climate anomaly since the ‘Black Frost’ of 1975, warning that damage to the 2015/16 crop could be even worse. 
 Alemar Braga Rena: “Drought and high temperatures in Brazilian coffee plantations: A case study and its national range”.
Graph 1: ICO composite indicator daily prices
In terms of group indicators, the strongest increases were observed in the three Arabica prices, with the monthly averages of Colombian Milds, Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals all increasing by well over 20% compared to February. Robustas also jumped by nearly 10%, leading to an increase in the arbitrage between Arabicas and Robustas. The monthly average of the Other Milds group also remains above Colombian Milds for the second month in succession, with the price differential more than doubling to -3.02 cents, as production in Colombia continues to increase, up 34% year-on-year in March to 828,000 bags.
Graph 2: ICO group indicator daily prices
Price volatility has also increased significantly in the last two months. Graph 3 below shows rolling 30-day price volatility of the ICO composite indicator price, which exceeded 15% during March 2014. This reflects the extreme uncertainty prevalent in the market currently, which can mostly be attributed to the weather in Brazil and uncertainty over the 2014/15 crop. In addition, the coffee authorities in Vietnam have advised that 2014/15 production will be significantly lower than 2013/14, while there are also concerns over production in India, Indonesia and Mexico.
Graph 3: Rolling 30-day price volatility of ICO composite indicator
World coffee consumption, on the other hand, continues to exhibit dynamic growth. An initial estimate of total consumption in calendar year 2013 suggests a significant 2.7% increase to 145.8 million bags, up from 142 million in 2012. This represents an average annual growth rate of 2.1% over the last four years. Much of this growth in 2013 has come from traditional markets, particularly the USA, which have provisionally recorded strong increases in consumption compared to 2012. Consumption in exporting countries continues to increase significantly, up to 44.7 million bags, or 30.6% of the world total.
Table 1: World coffee consumption
CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
Consumption in emerging markets is estimated at 26.8 million bags, slightly lower than 2012. However, this is most likely due to the fact that most emerging markets are not members of the ICO, therefore complete data for 2013 might not yet be available. The overall trend in the coffee market is for traditional markets to account for a declining share of total consumption, mostly due to increased consumption in exporting countries.
Graph 4: Changing composition of world coffee consumption
Finally, total exports in February 2014 reached 9 million bags, up 4.3% on February 2013. This brings the total volume of exports for the first five months of coffee year 2013/14 to 42.7 million bags, 6.6% lower than the same period in 2012/13. It is particularly notable that estimated exports from Vietnam increased significantly in February, up 28.2% to 2 million bags, which can presumably be attributed to the increased prices. However, total exports from Vietnam in coffee year 2013/14 (October to February) are still estimated lower at 7.3 million bags, compared to 9.2 million in 2012/13.
Despite this increase in Robusta exports, certified stocks on the London futures exchange continued to decline, from 404,000 bags in February to 317,000 in March. Certified Arabica stocks on the New York market also fell slightly to 2.9 million bags (see Graph 5).