Coffee auction prices down 11pc after last week’s rebound

A roaster samples coffee at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
A roaster samples coffee at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Coffee prices at the Nairobi auction declined by 11 per cent in Tuesday sales after rebounding marginally last week.

A market report from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates that a 50kg bag of coffee was sold at Sh24,000 this week compared with Sh27,000 in the previous sale.

The Mombasa auction has also been registering low prices lately, a trend attributed to lower quality beans as the main crop season comes to an end.

Daniel Mbithi, the NCE chief executive, said they don’t expect much improvement in the coming sales due to the lower quality crop that has cut down demand.

“It is expected that much lower average prices will be witnessed in the month of March due to the lower quality of the beans that will begin to stream into the market,” said Mr Mbithi.


International prices

Coffee earnings improved by 63 per cent last month compared to a similar period in 2016 on the back of higher international prices and an increase in volumes at the Nairobi auction.

Statistics from the NCE show that the value of Kenya’s coffee sold last month stood at Sh9.3 billion ($90.97 million) compared to Sh5.7 billion ($55.51 million) in February 2016.

The volumes of the produce subsequently grew by 30 per cent from 13 tonnes in February last year to 16.9 tonnes in corresponding period in 2017.

Kenya is banking on an exhibition organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) next month to double the sales that the US buys from the country and tap the premium price that the American market pays for the beverage.

Major market

America is Kenya’s third major market for coffee but it pays a higher price for the commodity compared to any other country.

During the financial year 2015/2016, American roasters paid Sh30,000 per 50kg bag of coffee compared with Sh25,000 offered by Germany and Sh24,000 by Belgium.

Germany is number one buyer and roaster of Kenya’s coffee followed by Belgium.

The SCAA Symposium and Exhibition is one of the single-largest market avenues where coffee producers meet buyers and consumers of specialty coffee. The symposium is held every year.