Drought in Brazil drives the price of coffee beans to a record high

The International Coffee Organisation warn consumers that the coffee crop could be affected for a number of years
Rupert Neate The Guardian 10 Apr 14;

Coffee bean prices have hit their highest level in more than two years amid fears that droughts in Brazil could lead to a global shortage of coffee. The price of arabica beans – the most popular variety – has risen by 20% this week and hit $2.07 (£1.23) per lb on Thursday, the highest since February 2012. So far this year, the price of arabica beans, originally indigenous to Ethiopia and favoured by Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero, has risen by 70%.

The price was driven higher on Thursday by further dry weather forecasts for Brazil – the world's biggest producer, which has already experienced its worst droughts in decades. Analyst expect global demand to be around 146m bags this year, outstripping supply by more than 7m bags, and warned that prices could hit $3 per lb.

The International Coffee Organisation warned that the coffee crop could be affected for years to come. "It is difficult to estimate the extent of the damage from the drought and high heat until the crop is being harvested, although a recent study has referred to it as the largest climate anomaly since the 'Black Frost' of 1975 [when more than 70% of Brazil's coffee crop was wiped out for two years running]," the ICO said. "The damage to the 2015/16 crop could be even worse."