So this was the long awaited Election week. Monday was a holiday for the poll to take place and after a long day of voting, with many polling stations having stayed open into the night to allow for all voters to cast their ballot, Tuesday normal life returned to Addis. Many locations, deemed unsafe, will have their poll in September. In Tigray, where hostilities are ongoing, no date for the Elections has been announced. Results will start to trickle in from now onwards but final results are not expected for weeks.

All warehouses are open and activity continues. This week we loaded containers, drew PSS and even managed to buy some coffee! Logistical constraints are ongoing but no worse than they were one or two weeks ago. Unprocessed coffee has started to flow again from the interior to Addis as the poll has been largely peaceful in the locations where it was possible to be carried out. In some areas of Djimmah/Limu where there were some instances of insecurity it could take a little longer for coffee to start flowing to Addis.  

The Government continues to reject perceived meddling in its internal affairs by foreign nations. Fighting has intensified in some areas in Tigray and the Airforce was accused of dropping airborne bombs on civilians killing dozens of people at an open air market. There really seems to be no end in sight to suffering for a population ravaged by war and hunger.

There is little trading activity at the moment, shippers are over committed and reluctant to sell more; likewise importers are very much focused on seeing coffee get on vessels rather than buying more; this is a time of the year where the focus is much more on execution than on trading!

We have not looked at how the pandemic has been developing in Ethiopia for a number of weeks now. Below the graph shows that the wave that peaked in the Spring is clearly receding. Furthermore the number of doses of the vaccine administered is at 2 Million, although small for a country that has a population in the tens of Millions, it is a start!

Birr43.60 = USD 1

Let’s hope that the calm environment is ongoing so that coffee continues to flow through the supply chain and on to vessels in Djibouti.

Have a good weekend.


So next Monday is election day in Ethiopia; it has been a long-time in coming, originally meant for mid 2020, the ballot was postponed more than once. For more background on this major political event please follow the link:

Shippers stopped loading export containers from Wednesday onwards to avoid having cargo in transit during the election period. Likewise, coffee stopped moving from upcountry to export mills in Addis in anticipation of the ballot.

The last couple of weeks had seen the logistical situation improve a tad, with more availability of containers and slots on vessels, however shippers were experiencing delays in Coffee Liquoring Unit (CLU) approval of export samples for up to 3 days.

Business activity has slowed somewhat. NY moving off the highs, Elections and sheer volume of previously established commitments have all played a hand in reducing the quantities changing hands from shippers to overseas buyers. Some roasters are still looking for specific qualities, however having filled up during the recent rally in NY, are now holding back a little waiting for execution of unshipped business.

As we enter the rainy season we expect both quality and volume arriving in Addis to decrease. Volumes will decrease because roads become impassable and wet weather is not conducive to transporting coffee. As a consequence of this limitation in supply to shippers, agrabes will try to sell their lower quality to shippers in need of coffee to fulfil their commitments. From October, weather improves and whatever stocks remain upcountry need to be sold so the tables turn, and agrabes will be the ones needing to sell their balance stocks before new crop becomes available at farmgate level.

Monday is a holiday in Ethiopia, hopefully the poll is peaceful and normal activities will resume thereafter.

Birr 43.50 = USD 1

Have a good weekend.


For the 3rd month in a row shipments hit a new record, last May exports reached over 32 k MT a record for the month of May and indeed the highest monthly exports figure ever! Some Ethiopian insiders believe that these high Export figures are due to the upcoming ballot (June 21st), no doubt that the ballot has focused minds to get coffee on vessels, however I believe that other factors, much more coffee related than political, explain these high numbers. Firstly, the 2020/21 crop is larger than the previous crop, therefore there is more coffee available. Secondly, prices have been very attractive for both overseas buyers and shippers, so export business has been brisk and in volume. While Brazil differentials remained fairly firm over the past couple months as NY rallied, Ethiopia Natural differentials weakened significantly attracting overseas buyers’ interest, like bees to honey! June shipments are likely to remain high, even with the disruption to flows around the Elections. Indeed we expect that shippers will remain under pressure and very busy for many weeks to come.

Logistics have been a struggle, in fact, if there were more containers available and if space on vessels was not constrained, we would have an even higher Export figure. Although shipping lines are the main guilty party in causing this bottleneck, at times of known potential instability, such as tribal tension and Elections, importers slow down their activity and run stocks down, resulting in less imports and a lower number of containers being imported, and therefore less containers available for exports.

The UN has declared that the northern region of Tigray has famine. The BBC explores this in the following article:

Birr 43.30 = USD 1

Have a good weekend.


Logistics continue to be a struggle but we better get used to it because there is no end in sight!

The local currency is devaluing as we expect however the pace has accelerated in the last couple of months bringing with it fears of basic goods price hikes in the near term:

The recent terminal market action has incentivised business to such an extent that shippers are currently reluctant to offer until current commitments are fulfilled. The minimum price that a few months ago was an impediment to business has become totally irrelevant, shippers’ prices are now well above those set by the Coffee & Tea authority (C&TA). The graph below shows the differential of Lekempti 5 minimum registration price vs NYC. Currently Lekempti 5 is trading at a 20 cent premium to the Minimum registration price set by the C&TA:

Birr 43.1 = USD 1

Have a good weekend.