Coffee Prices Surge as Freezing Temperatures Damage Brazil’s Crops

BUSINESS TURKMENISTAN
Coffee Prices Surge as Freezing Temperatures Damage Brazil’s Crops
Severe frosts last week damaged a large part of the fields in Brazil’s main coffee growing regions. (Photo: Reuters)

Arabica coffee prices surged 10% on Monday, after jumping nearly 20% last week, to their highest point in nearly seven years as unusual cold weather damaged coffee crops in the world's largest producer Brazil.

Prices of arabica futures on ICE exchange rose sharply on Monday, with the September contract climbing to a peak of $2.15 a pound (about $4.7 a kg), the highest level since October 2014, Reuters news agency reports.

Severe frosts last week damaged a large part of the fields in Brazil’s main coffee growing regions and a new polar air mass is forecast to move over the same areas later this week, the third strong cold front to hit crops this year.

Coffee trees are extremely sensitive to frost, which can cause severe damage and even kill trees completely. If a farm needs to replant trees, it would take the new trees about three years to become productive, according to the report.

Preliminary estimates from the Brazilian government's food supply agency Conab said that last week's frosts had affected 150,000 to 200,000 hectares – about 11% of the country's total arabica crop area.

The Arabica coffee has rocketed by 60 % since January, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Lower quality robusta coffee, mainly grown in Asia, surged to an October 2017 peak of $1,993 per ton, a near 40% gain so far this year.

The current rise in coffee prices is also part of a wider context of inflation in the cost of raw materials, whether agricultural or industrial – with copper and tin prices reaching record highs in recent weeks.