Up to 17.4 mm (0.7 inches) of rain is expected in the country's top coffee area of southern Minas Gerais state on Tuesday, according to the Reuters Weather Dashboard. Just 8 mm are expected between Wednesday and Sunday, however. A drought that started about this time last year destroyed some 10 percent of Brazil's coffee harvest that ended in August, triggering a 50 percent spike in arabica prices in 2014.
Though recent rains have somewhat alleviated concerns about the 2015 crop that will be harvested starting in May, trees are not expected to recover fully from the historic drought. Rainfall in December was below average, according to the weather dashboard. Brazil's main soya-growing states in the center-west were less affected by the drought a year ago. While a dry November caused some delays in planting, rain was favourable in December. Private forecasters as well as the US and Brazilian governments expect a record crop of between 91 and 95 million tonnes to start harvest in the coming weeks.