Brazil Is Shipping More Coffee Than Ever Before, Trader Says

(Bloomberg) — Brazil’s bumper coffee crop is starting to translate into record shipments as growers capitalize on the local currency’s slide against the dollar, according to one of the world’s largest traders of the commodity.

Green coffee exports are expected to top 3.5 million bags this month, which would be the highest ever for September and the most since December 2018, said Carlos Alberto Fernandes Santana, a director at Empresa Interagricola SA, a unit of trader Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. Shipments are on track to hit a record in the three months through November after falling in August, he said.

“Despite logistical bottlenecks at ports, the flow of exports has increased a lot, signaling record volumes for this month and the next two,” Santana said in an interview.

The Brazilian real is the worst performer among major currencies in the past three months, providing growers and traders with an attractive exchange rate for overseas sales in dollars. The latest Safras & Mercado data showed 60% of the estimated crop was sold as of early September. Brazil is the biggest grower and exporter of coffee.

Arabica-coffee futures are heading for their steepest monthly decline since January on concern that rising Covid-19 cases will spur new lockdowns in Europe and hurt consumption at a time when favorable weather conditions in producing countries signal good crops.

So far, there have been “no significant adjustments” in contracts already set despite caution spurred by the prospect of fresh lockdowns, Santana said.

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In Brazil, a shortage of empty containers has slowed shipments, with beans from this year’s bumper harvest stuck in warehouses.

“In our Santos port terminal, we have containers full of beans whose shipment has been delayed amid lack of space in vessels,” said Luiz Alberto Azevedo Levy Jr., a director at one of the largest private coffee warehouses, Dinamo.

Still, container shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S said it has managed to fulfill all contractual agreements with coffee customers.

“It is highly important that producers provide visibility on when they need to move stocks in advance as ships are already full in September and October,” Julian Thomas, president of Maersk in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, said in a statement.

(Updates with Maersk’s comment in the last paragraph)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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