The Hindu Business Line

Coffee exports earnings turn tepid as poor volumes take toll


After touching an all time high in 2017-18, Indian coffee shipments suffered a setback during the year-ended March 31, 2019 as a poor crop impacted volumes exported during the fiscal year.

Volumes were down by about 9 per cent over the previous year, impacting overall realisatio­ns both in rupee and dollar terms. The dollar term realisatio­n was down by about a tenth, while the rupee earnings were lower by about 3 per cent. However, per-unit realisatio­ns went up for the period on account of an increase in instant coffee shipments, exporters said.

“There was little coffee to ship,” said Ramesh Rajah, President of the Coffee Exporters Associatio­n, attributin­g the poor performanc­e to the lower crop during the past two years.

“The outlook for the yearahead looks bleak as the current (2018-19) crop is lower,” Rajah added.

The Coffee Board, in its postmonsoo­n estimate, has projected a 1 per cent increase in the 2018-19 crop, starting October, at 3.19 lakh tonnes. The marginal increase in output was on account of a higher production in parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and non-traditiona­l States such as Andhra Pradesh and the North East. In the traditiona­l growing regions of Karnataka, which account for about two-thirds of the country’s coffee output, production is about 1.24 per cent lower at 1.51 lakh tonnes due to the impact of the unpreceden­ted rains last July-August.

Moreover, with a global surplus, buyers have been adopting a wait-and-watch stance.

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