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Coffee exports slip 5.3% in January-July period

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India’s coffee exports have declined 5.3 per cent to 228,212 tonnes for the first seven months of the present calendar year (January to July 2012) compared to the corresponding period last year. This includes 45,762 tonnes of and 126,676 tonnes of and 55,636 tonnes of instant coffee.

The decline in exports is largely due to a drop in Arabica prices and lower production of Robusta beans during the last crop season. However, the weakened rupee against the dollar helped exporters recover some of the losses during the first seven months of this year, analysts said. “Actually, we were expecting about 10-15 per cent decline in exports during the period. Thanks to weaker rupee and higher demand for value-added coffee, the decline in exports during this period was trimmed. Till June 2012, the exports were down by 10 per cent. However, still we expect to close the current calendar year with about 10 per cent drop in overall exports compared to last year,” Ramesh Rajah, President, Coffee Exporters’ Association of India said.

During 2011, India’s coffee exports stood at 343,224 tonnes valued at Rs 4,827 crore.

The export of Indian origin coffee was, however, declined by 7.2 per cent to 195,531 tonnes between January and July 2012 as against 210,791 tonnes during the same period last year. The export of value-added coffee stood at 32,681 tonnes, a growth of 8 per cent over 30,242 tonnes exported during the first seven months of last year.

The (washed variety) has seen good demand in the international markets, especially Europe. As a result the prices of this variety have almost doubled to Rs 7,900 per 50 kg bag compared to about Rs 4,300 per bag in July 2011. The European markets have been consuming higher quantity of Robusta as the percentage mix of Robusta in the blended coffee has gone up from 30 per cent to 50 per cent this year, an exporter of coffee said.

In value terms, the total coffee exports were flat at Rs 3,383 crore as against Rs 3,382 crore. “Even though the rupee weakened against dollar, there was no gain for exporters as the prices of Arabica have declined by about 35-36 per cent this year from a high of 250 cents per lb in December last year to 160 cents per lb in June this year. Because of this drop, the growers were reluctant to export their produce this year,” M P Devaiah of Allanasons Ltd, an exporter of coffee said.

India exports coffee to Italy, Germany, Russian Federation, Belgium, Slovenia, Jorda, Spain, Malaysia, USA and Greece among others. Italy accounts for about 27 per cent of the total exports from India, followed by Germany and Russian Federation. The top ten exporters from India include NKG Jayanti Coffee Pvt Ltd, Allanasons Limited, Amalgamated Bean Coffee, Tata Coffee Ltd and ITC Limited among others.

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