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Premium Coffee? Your Choice As Roasters Swap Arabica With Robusta in Tight Market

By Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com)CommoditiesSep 29, 2021 13:42
uk.investing.com/analysis/premium-coffee-your-choice-as-roasters-swap-arabica-with-robusta-in-tight-market-200497954
Premium Coffee? Your Choice As Roasters Swap Arabica With Robusta in Tight Market
By Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com)   |  Sep 29, 2021 13:42
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It’s the pride of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), the world’s No. 1 coffee chain. “We use only 100% arabica beans, so you can enjoy the delicious, high quality coffee these beans help create,” Aaron Robinson, coffee engagement manager at the chain, says in a blog on the company’s site.

Adds Robinson, extolling the offering:

“Arabica can be elegant. It can be complex. It can have an interesting body and acidity that can be used and played with and blended into new, interesting tastes."

Maybe. But roasters—or those coffee scientists and other experts in the trade whose job it is to choose the perfect beans for the clients and top chains—might be getting different ideas as a global squeeze on arabica turns them toward the more easily-available robusta.

“Roasters are increasingly keen to use robusta beans in place of pricey arabica, while COVID-19 restrictions in top producer Vietnam and a shortage of container freight are also boosting prices,” Reuters said in a Sept. 20 story.

From too much rain in Colombia to a thin harvest in Brazil, the impact of weather gone wrong along with weak crop yield and other issues have squeezed the global arabica trade, making it hard for roasters to source prompt, quality and cost-efficient beans of the variant.

Robusta isn’t without its problems either. Those sourcing the beans in London say they’re having trouble getting them from top grower, Vietnam due to a shortage of containers to carry the product out of a country suffering a resurgence of the COVID epidemic.

Coffee Prices Hot For Months

The cumulative effect is that prices of coffee, regardless of type, have been hot for months now, just like the proverbial steaming mug they are known for.

“It remains a bull market on a lack of supplies available from origin,” said Jack Scoville, chief crop analyst at Chicago commodities brokerage Price Futures Group.

As September looms to a close, New York-traded arabica is up 2.7% on the month and 57% on the year, hovering at $1.98 a lb.

London-traded robusta is up almost 7% for September as it experienced a surfeit in demand from roasters relying on the more easily available variant to sub wherever the pricier arabica. For the year, robusta has gained a relatively less 28%.

And while the Reuters report cited arabica as the pricier of the two, a breakdown shows that robusta at $2,163 a ton is actually worth $2.163 a lb—more than arabica. Typically, arabica trades at a premium to robusta but the dynamic may have shifted in recent weeks due to the runaway demand for the Asian-grown beans.

Also, while the Reuters story implies that substitution is becoming a norm in the industry, neither Starbucks nor any of the other big-brand coffee chains have stated any change in their bean-sourcing due to market conditions.

Seattle, Washington-based Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 32,938 retail locations as of the first quarter of this year. Next largest is Dunkin Donuts with about 10,000 restaurants, Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) owned, Tim Hortons (4,300 outlets), and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) owned, Costa Coffee (1,700 stores).

As for the fundamentally-ground coffee rally, do charts diverge in their outlook of the market?

Arabica Monthly
Arabica Monthly

All charts courtesy of SK Charting

No, says Sunil Kumar Dixit, chief technical strategist at SK Charting in Kolkata, India. He adds that if anything, the indicators in the charts reinforce the run-up.

Dixit explains:

“Arabica’s July monthly candle had touched $2.15 and closed with bullish engulfing pattern, followed by August and September candles bullishly positioned inside the formation adding strength to the continuation of up move with retest of $2.15 being an obvious first among ambitious targets.”

“A careful study shows immediate and credible support at $1.82, which is horizontal and static on the daily chart vertical and dynamic on the monthly chart. Only a break below this point pushes the price to the next bearish level of $1.76.”

Robusta Monthly
Robusta Monthly

As for robusta, Dixit says the monthly chart showed “crisp price action, sans local noise, that clearly prints a steady up move to match the 2017 year high of $2,282.”

“Momentum shall pause on a break below the 5-month Exponential Moving Average of $2,110, and prices can correct to $1,800 which is a likely dynamic goal for the middle Bollinger Band in a month or two from now."

“On the flip side, the Stochastic Relative Strength Indicator for robusta shows a reading of 100/100 which is extremely overbought. It is ripe for correction on a drop of a hat, to below $2,110. For now though, the upside prevails.”

Disclaimer: Barani Krishnan uses a range of views outside his own to bring diversity to his analysis of any market. For neutrality, he sometimes presents contrarian views and market variables. He does not hold a position in the commodities and securities he writes about.

Premium Coffee? Your Choice As Roasters Swap Arabica With Robusta in Tight Market
 

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Premium Coffee? Your Choice As Roasters Swap Arabica With Robusta in Tight Market

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Pedro Gonzalez
Pedro Gonzalez Oct 12, 2021 19:20
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Arabica @$213
Pedro Gonzalez
Pedro Gonzalez Sep 29, 2021 22:46
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☕👍
 
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