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Brazil predicts smaller coffee crop after bumper 2018

The Brazilian government is forecasting this year’s coffee crop to total between 50m and 55m 60kg bags, a 15 per cent decline from last year’s record harvest.

The country’s coffee growing has traditionally followed a cycle of huge biennial swings, with an “on” year of large production followed by an “off” year of low output as the trees recover.

Production in 2018, an on-year, totalled a bumper 62m. Brazil is the world’s largest grower of coffee and its production pushed international coffee prices to multiyear lows

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The low prices led to coffee growers abandoning their farms in Guatemala while Colombian farmers turned to coca, which is processed into cocaine.

The production decline could support prices which are currently fluctuating at around $1.06 a pound, way below the $1.20 to $1.50 level needed for farmers in many of the Latin American countries to make a profit.

However, the median level of the Brazilian agricultural agency Conab’s forecast of 52.5m bags is still a record for an off-year and larger than any on-year output apart from the 2018 monster crop.

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