Coffee prices rise marginally at NCE’s opening auction of the year


Coffee beans on display at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Coffee prices increased marginally in the first sale of 2019 as the auction prepared for high-quality beans from the main crop.

Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates a 50-kilogramme bag of the commodity on average rose 3.7 per cent to settle at Sh18,666 from the last sale of 2019 in which the same quantity traded at Sh18,000.

NCE says the prices are expected to rally in the coming sales as the main crop from central Kenya starts hitting the market.

The price of coffee had dipped in November and early December resulting from a low-quality crop. However, it rebounded mid last month boosted by quality produce from western Kenya.

According to the auction, the main crop from central Kenya started trickling in the market in December as the short-term beans from eastern Kenya fizzled out.

Depressed earnings in 2018 were occasioned by low international prices in the world market where Kenya sells most of its produce.

“International prices were very low last year and that had a negative effect on the local cost. It was a hard year for coffee farmers,” said NCE in a statement last year.

Despite an increase in the volume of coffee traded at the auction in 2017/2018 crop year, the value of the produce declined 8.78 per cent to Sh14.5 billion from Sh15.9 billion.

Average prices also reduced from Sh23,300 to Sh20,000 a 50-kilogramme bag in the year to October 2018, compared with the previous season last year.