Rainfall in Colombia may hamper a recovery in coffee production from last year’s 33-year low, an exporters group said.
Persistent wet weather may deprive plants of sunlight and stunt growth of coffee beans in Colombia, the world’s largest arabica producer after Brazil, said Jorge Lozano, head of Colombia’s National Association of Coffee Exporters.
“It’s going to affect the harvest if it keeps raining like this,” he said yesterday in a telephone interview from Bogota. “The beans can’t grow without sun.”
Coffee has rallied 25 percent this year as investment funds bet on gains and global supplies lag demand, Lozano said. Above- average rain last year damaged plants, cutting Colombia’s 2009 crop by 32 percent and trimming the harvest in the first half.
Wet weather in recent weeks has swollen rivers and increased the risk of mudslides, according to the nation’s state-run Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies. Colombia may have “abundant” rainfall in September because of the return of the weather pattern known as La Nina, the agency said in a statement on its website.
Arabica coffee for September delivery rose 0.1 cent to $1.6985 a pound at 2:00 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Still, Colombian growers are “optimistic” after production rose 35 percent in July, signaling that last year’s period of low output has ended, Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers said today in a statement.
Farmers harvested 787,000 bags in July, compared with 582,000 bags a year earlier, the group said. Exports slid to 588,000 bags from 608,000 bags. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
Production in August won’t be “very big,” Lozano said before the report. Output will rise in September as farmers begin to harvest the year-end crop, he said. (Heather Walsh / Bloomberg)