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(Updates with analyst comment in third, seventh paragraphs.)
Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Coffee production in Colombia, the world’s second-largest supplier of arabica beans after Brazil, shrank to a 35-year low after excess rainfall, diseases and a lack of sunshine curbed yields.
The harvest tumbled 12 percent to 7.81 million bags in 2011, the lowest level since 1976, from 8.92 million a year earlier, Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers said in a statement yesterday in Bogota. The crop missed the November target of about 8 million bags of 60 kilograms (132 pounds) each.
“It was totally unexpected,” said Andres Jimenez, head of international sales at Interbolsa SA, Colombia’s largest brokerage. “We’re actually below 8 million? And 8 million is disastrous.”
Coffee futures have rallied about 4.4 percent in New York in a month as rainstorms reduced supplies from Colombia, known for fictional coffee farmer Juan Valdez. Farmers will have a “very hard” time this year increasing production if adverse weather persists, Luis Munoz, the head of the growers federation, said in November.
Arabica coffee for March delivery slid 0.1 percent to $2.2500 a pound at 9:35 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after earlier gaining as much as 1.8 percent.
Exports from Colombia declined 1.2 percent to 7.73 million bags in 2011 from 7.82 million bags, the federation said. Arabica coffee is grown mainly in Latin America and favored for specialty drinks such as those made by Starbucks Corp.
Along with adverse weather, higher prices for fertilizer have increased costs and a stronger Colombian peso against the dollar has trimmed revenue for farmers, Jimenez said today in a telephone interview from Medellin, a city in the nation’s largest coffee-growing province of Antioquia.
The La Nina weather event that caused flooding and landslides last year has abated this month, Mines Minister Mauricio Cardenas said last week.
The 2011 crop was less than a harvest of 7.812 million bags in 2009, when wet weather led to a 32 percent decline in the crop.
--Editors: Carlos Caminada, Robin Saponar
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