kolombie problem 02. 12. 2012

Boca Raton, March 20 - Colombia, the world's third biggest coffee producer, looks set to produce 11 million 60-kg bags in 2009, down from last year's 11.48 million bags, a spokesman for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia said Thursday.


"It's not the official projection from our technical department but it's taking technical information into account. It's what we are using from the commercial side for planning purposes, in terms of exporting and selling, etcetera," the federation's commercial manager Juan Restrepo told Reuters.

Restrepo spoke on the sidelines of the first day of the U.S. National Coffee Association's annual convention in Florida. The event is scheduled to wrap up March 21.

Some important coffee growing regions have not yet completed flowering, a measure used to estimate crop size.

The coffee industry has been keeping a close eye on Colombia, a major producer of high quality arabica coffee beans. The combination of heavy rain and lower fertilizer use, as well as a rejuvenation program that has taken some land out of production, caused Colombia to fall below expectations last year, Restrepo said.

Colombia produced 12.61 million bags of coffee in 2007.

The premiums on high-quality Colombian arabica beans have soared on tight supplies, tripling since October to over 40 cents against the ICE Futures U.S. benchmark contract. The high differentials haven't been this high since 1997, Restrepo said.

"The industry has been catching up slowly, and giving priority as an industry where there is the most pressure from the roasters," he said, adding that things will get back on track when the main crop is harvested later this year.

"Inventories fell almost one million bags, down to 1.1 million bags by then end of last year," Restrepo said.

Colombia's coffee industry is more comfortable with inventories at two million sacks following the main harvest at the beginning of the calendar year, he said.

Earlier this week, the federation pegged Colombia's coffee output for the first six months of 2009 at 4.5 million 60-kg bags, down from around 6 million a year ago.

Restrepo expects Colombian differentials will ease as the size of the upcoming main crop is confirmed and when the futures market responds to tight inventories in Colombia and Central America.

DEMAND SEEN FLAT

Restrepo projected global coffee demand in 2009 will be unchanged from 2008, if the global financial crisis does not worsen.

"We see, in the worst case at the moment, if things don't go worse than they are, probably we won't see consumption grow but we will not see a loss in consumption," he said.

The London-based International Coffee Organization estimated world consumption in 2008 at 128 million bags, up from 125.1 million in 2007, with consumption not expected to suffer greatly due to the global financial crisis.

The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia represents more than 500,000 families.

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