Agri Business

Coffee exports to N. Africa gather steam

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on July 13, 2021

Libya emerges key buyer as Robusta premiums drop

Indian coffee exports to North African countries are seen rebounding as shipments rise to countries such as Libya and Egypt amidst the shrinking trend in premiums for robustas in the recent quarters.

Libya has emerged among the top five buyers of Indian coffee during the January-June period this year with shipments rising by 47% over same period last year. Exports to Libya topped 7,794 tonnes during first half of the current annual year compared with 5,303 tonnes in same perioda year ago. “There is a renewed interest among North African buyers,” said Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters Association. As Indian coffees have turned more competitive with declining premiums, there is improved offtake in many markets including North Africa and neighbouring countries.

 

Competitive

Premiums on Indian Robustas Parchment, which hovered around $950-1,000 per tonne above the LIFFE prices in July 2020, have now come down to $350-400 due to weak demand from traditional buyers in Europe, mainly Italy and Germany. As a result, the Indian coffees have turned more competitive. Similarly, the premiums on Robusta cherry have now come down to $175-200 per tonne over and above the LIFFE prices compared with $575-600 in early July last year.

Traditionally, the North African markets are catered by the Brazilian and other suppliers, where Indian exporters are trying to grow at the expense of those countries, Rajah said. Indian coffee exports to countries such as Libya, Algeria and Morocco have declined in recent years, but witnessed a rebound during the 2020-21. .

Exports

Though North Africa is a small market for Indian exporters compared to Europe and Russia, any growth is seen as a positive sign in current market, impacted by the Covid pandemic. For the first six months, India’s coffee shipments grew 11 per cent in volumes at 1.92 lakh tonnes compared to 1.75 lakh tonnes in the same period last year. The shipments rose 16 per cent during the period to $460.89 million over same period last year’s $395 million, on robust purchases by countries such as Belgium and Russian Federation.

Published on July 12, 2021

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