Arabica coffee (KCZ9: $1.01/lb +0.6%) trades back above $1/lb in response to renewed support from a stronger Brazilian Real which has risen by 5% against the dollar since October 16. Also adding support has been the prospect for a rising deficit during the 2019-20 season. Marex Spectron in a note to Bloomberg have raised the 2019-20 deficit to 4.7 million bags due to worsening production prospects in Brazil. This compares with an estimated 6.6 million bag surplus in 2018-19.
Also of note was yesterday’s opinion piece in the Financial Times from the head of international coffee business at Olam International. It highlighted the need for a mechanism to stabilize a market where low prices are threatening the sustainability of the industry and the farmers whose livelihoods depend on it.
Hedge funds have due to the forward curve structure been holding a profitable net-short in coffee since 2017. The short periods of recovery during this time has mainly been driven by short-covering and whether this time is any different remains to be seen. While the outlook for a rising supply deficit may support the price into 2020 the short-term outlook hinges on further BRL strength combined but the above mentioned short covering. On the chart below we have highlighted a few interesting levels.