The World Is Facing A Coffee Crisis!

Coffee supplies in the U.S. are shrinking and wholesale prices are surging, with the hard-hit market bracing for further fallout from a global shortage of shipping containers that’s upended the food trade.

Coffee stockpiles have sunk to a six-year low in the U.S. even with Brazil’s record crop, and a large drop in output after a drought in the South American country is expected to shift the world balance to a deficit in coming months just as demand rebounds.

“Everybody is feeling the pinch,” said Christian Wolthers, the president of Wolthers Douque, an importer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who estimates that shipping costs have more than doubled from Latin America. “These bottlenecks are turning into a container nightmare.”

While cargo-market disruptions have played havoc on the global food trade generally, the problems in the coffee market show food inflation already on the rise could be exacerbated as economies reopen. For now, roasters are able to draw on inventories rather than raise prices, but with stockpiles sliding and a smaller Brazilian crop coming, the strains are expected to persist.

Arabica-coffee futures in New York have risen about 24% since the end of October following the damage to Brazilian groves. In February, American green, unroasted bean inventory slid 8.3% from a year earlier to the smallest since 2015, industry data showed Monday.

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