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SAO PAULO: Brazil’s 2023 coffee crop should surprise positively and exports recover in the second half of the year, the head of exporters group Cecafe said on Friday, after shipments dropped by roughly a fifth in the first four months to end-April.

Speaking at an event hosted by Cecafe, Marcio Ferreira said a good shipment pace should then be maintained in the first half of 2024. The country is still far short of the 2020 coffee production record, Ferreira said “but there is certainly a very interesting scenario: coffees in more quantity and quality for this coming harvest,” he added referring to Arabica beans, the main variety harvested in Brazil.

The country’s robusta coffee crop is expected “repeat” its output performance of the previous year, when farmers reaped a record 16.81 million bags of the variety, he added.

His forecast contrasts with that of the government’s food and statistics agency Conab, which expects a 7.6% drop in robusta production this year. Robusta producers “can glimpse a consistency of prices because there is a deficit of production in the world, mainly in Indonesia and also in Vietnam,” he said.

Considering a strong harvest and high robusta prices, Ferreira said he expects exports of the variety to receive a boost, backing Brazil’s overall coffee shipments.

Although Cecafe does not give an official forecast of total exports for the year, when asked Ferreira said that “it isn’t impossible” for Brazil’s overall shipments reach more than 35 million bags of coffee in 2023.

Last year, Brazil total coffee shipments reached 39.35 million 60-kg bags, while green coffee exports were at 35.58 million bags.

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