Internet was reconnected to businesses and households this week; data services on mobile phones still not working as the government continues to manage a restless population in the wake of the recent political upheaval. Three weeks without the internet has further exasperated an already difficult season, at least we can communicate with our suppliers and colleagues now. The business has been very slow, even if you wanted to buy how do you get your contract sent to your Ethiopian counterparty without internet? How does he/she send the confirmation back to you? Some of my colleagues do not even know what a fax machine is, I can’t remember the last time I used one, but when there is no internet for 3 weeks, they come in handy!
The Ethiopian coffee (and otherwise) year ended and many shippers/processors are busy with stock takes which has slowed the pace of processing and shipments this week. Quality concerns regarding the current crop continue to be abundant and are likely to continue for the remainder of the crop cycle. Many shippers are in a pickle with their commitments and struggling to meet quality requirements, this is resulting in delayed shipments (more delayed than the usual delays!). Although security and normality have been restored in Addis Ababa some shippers remain wary of moving coffee from upcountry warehouses to Addis for processing because of simmering tension in Oromia Region. Minimum prices have not changed much in the last couple of weeks and with the terminal market reluctant to make any decisive move, buying opportunities are non-existent.
Demand also remains subdued, this is the quiet season with many people on holiday and lower consumption due to warmer weather. In addition, roasters are still trying to figure out what the impact of the pandemic and subsequent easing of restrictions will have on future demand.
Birr 35.07 = USD 1
by Charles Seara Cardoso