Coffee importers are stockpiling to anticipate possible shortages as a result of the corona crisis, as more and more countries are introducing lockdowns that could disrupt the supply chain. This also causes coffee prices to rise to record highs.
According to Reuters, many importers have placed orders one month ahead because they are afraid the supply might be compromised. The corona pandemic has prompted governments around the world to severely restrict freedom of movement in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. Air freight capacity has also declined sharply, and companies are finding it challenging to find enough truck drivers and ship crews.
Even before the outbreak of the corona crisis, there was some scarcity on the coffee market, and it is expected that this will only increase further. In Brazil, the price of coffee has risen sharply and is close to record levels. In Colombia, there is great fear that the quarantine measures, which were introduced last week for a period of 19 days, will be extended. The new coffee harvest, which will start at the end of April, may well be severely hampered if the measures are indeed extended.
Roberto Vélez, head of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, says that prices may be the highest they have ever been, but "for that price, we also face logistical problems, the coronavirus and fear."