Colombian coffee exports in the last two months of the year are unlikely to surpass 1.6 million 60-kilogram bags, Colombia’s National Coffee Exporters Association, Asoexport, said Sunday.
Asoexport President Jorge Lozano told Dow Jones Newswires that based on the latest figures for production, which have shown no signs of a recovery from weather problems, it’s no longer realistic to expect higher volumes in shipments.
Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers, or Fedecafe, Friday lowered its forecast for 2009 production to 8.3 million bags as Colombian producers are harvesting one of the smallest crops in over 30 years.
“This means that we can’t any longer think about exporting more than between 700,000 and 800,000 bags in November, but that is the reality we are facing,” Lozano said.
He said that according to reports from exporters and producers across the country, there were some expectations that exports as of December may show some signs of a recovery, but even so, it would be difficult for exports for the last two months to surpass 1.6 million bags.
“There is a bit more optimism among the producers and exporters now, and we may get a little more coffee in December,” he said.
The export forecast for the last two months of 2009 compares with Colombian coffee exports of 1.922 million bags in the November-December period last year and to exports of 2.389 million bags in that period in 2007.
Friday’s revised forecast by Fedecafe was the fifth time since the beginning of the year as the 2009 harvest was initially forecast to reach up to 12.1 million bags.
Colombian coffee production in the 2009-10 crop cycle is forecast to reach 10 million 60-kilogram bags, Asoexport said earlier Friday, up from production of 8.6 million bags in the 2008-09 cycle that ended Sept. 30.
But the Asoexport figure is sharply lower than the forecast issued by Fedecafe, which last month said production is expected to rebound to 11 million bags in the calendar year 2010.
The Fedecafe calendar year figure for 2010 is mostly based on production from the 2009 crop cycle, which runs from Oct. 1 through September the following year.
Asoexport called on all members of the Colombian coffee industry to remain cautious about forward selling more coffee than what is expected to be available.
The scarcity of fresh supply in Colombia in 2009 sent local purchasing prices to 12-year highs earlier this year and resulted in losses worth millions of dollars for exporters who couldn???t deliver on the price terms agreed on in forward selling contracts.
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of mild washed arabica coffee, with annual output of between 11.5 million and 12.5 million bags in recent years, and is the third largest producer overall after Brazil and Vietnam.