The period March to September was frenetic with huge shipments, many logistical challenges and mired with the pitfalls of trading in a rising market. The waters are much calmer now, with little to offer shippers are focusing on readying the most recent sales and laying the ground for the upcoming crop. There is much to prepare, the ECX became a secondary market to Direct Buying from agrabes in 20/21 and the number of shippers exploded into the hundreds. Our pool of suppliers has mushroomed as a consequence, we have bought from dozen of shippers that had not exported a bean of coffee until this season. It has been a steep learning curve for us and our suppliers.

The next crop appears a tad delayed but we are still expecting a good crop in most growing areas. We are working on our crop report 21/22, but have to admit that the current instability in the country is posing many difficulties to travel and to properly carry out surveys.

Fighting in the North of the country continues, however it is very difficult to get accurate reports on what is happening on the ground. Both sides state that they are open to talks but there is little evidence to suggest that this will happen anytime soon.

Birr 46.93 = USD 1

Have a good weekend.


It seems that the new Government in Ethiopia has as a priority to deal with the crisis in Tigray, launching a large scale military offensive this week. For the BBC’s take on the issue please follow the link:

Meanwhile the September Export numbers show a decline in shipments vs August, as expected, and this reducing seasonal trend is likely to continue for the coming 3 months. Shipments have been heavily skewed towards the first half of the shipment year so the pace of sales for the period Sep to Feb is also likely to decrease more than usual. Warehouses and processing mills are looking very empty, only dwelling stocks remain in Addis unprocessed and unsold, recent spikes in the terminal market having flushed out much of the remaining stocks.

On the logistics front, finding containers to stuff is getting harder, whenever a vessel leaves Djibouti it seems to have dozen of our containers since there are so few calling Djibouti. Our shipments pile up at the port until a vessel finally comes and then it all loads! Timelines from PSS approval to FOB are getting longer all the time, not even the reduction in shipments has helped. With the economy stagnating because of the fighting, imports are lower and consequently the number of available containers is also reduced.

New crop has started in a few areas like Benchi Maji. Limu area is expected to start second half October. Cherry prices are all over the place ranging from 20 to 30 Birr/kg. However we only expect to get a meaningful cherry price level once the harvest gets underway in earnest, in November.

Birr 46.66 = USD 1

Have a good weekend.

Minimum Registration Prices set weekly by the Coffee & Tea Authority (CTA) have been irrelevant for the past few months; as the terminal market rallied exporters were able to find plenty of eager buyers at ever increasing flat prices. Infused by the 10 cent move last Friday, the CTA decided to up the prices that shippers can register new export sales and then the market lost everything it had gained the previous week. It has now become difficult for shippers to sell Washed coffee in particular, as Yirgacheffe 2 and Sidamo 2 Minimum Registration prices are 266 and 257 USC/LB FOB Djibouti, too high to find buyers. Natural Grade 5 coffee is still attractive at around -30/35 FOB but was more attractive below 40 under!

Logistics continue to be a struggle, usual lack of containers and slots on vessels with the added frustration of erratic schedules thrown in the mix making any sort of planning impossible; We remain optimistic that the situation will improve as the peak shipment period is behind us. However, declining imports could reduce further container availability…

Prime Minister Abiy appointed his Cabinet and included in his team 3 Ministers chosen from opposition parties. The hope now is that the new government can resolve the conflict raging in the North of the country, tackle inflation and return the country to the previous rapid economic growth path experienced before the Tigray conflict began.

On a lighter note, Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma won the 2021 London Marathon held last weekend in the streets of the UK’s capitol city.

Birr 46.44 = USD 1

Have a good weekend

Stakeholders’ focus is turning towards the imminent new crop which is just around the corner, all coffee growing regions are expected to start harvesting in October. The crop in the South is looking very good, particularly in the higher growing areas, where farmers are expecting an improved crop viz-a-viz the 2020 crop. It all bodes well for both quality and quantity. This in turn is putting pressure on agrabes and shippers to move along the value chain the remaining stocks from the current 20/21 crop and with a little help from the terminal market culminated with increased export sales towards the end of the end of the week. Insecurity is still very much of concern, some growing areas have imposed night time curfews to try to curb lawlessness.

The official forex rate continues to slowly and steadily decline, however with soaring inflation it is not surprising that the black market rate is nearly double the official rate.

Several regions that had not been able to hold elections in June due to insecurity finally managed to hold a ballot this week; the results of these regional elections are not expected to change the outcome of the overwhelming victory for the governing party in the June poll.

Meanwhile the government continues to be at odds with the international community over the Tigray conflict, for more on this please follow the link:

Forex rate: Birr 46.16= USD 1

Have a good weekend