Fortis revises down cocoa, coffee surplus estimates

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LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) Fortis Bank on Friday revised down estimates for cocoa and coffee surpluses, saying cocoa had suffered from increased incidence of black pod disease while coffee demand forecasts had been scaled up.

In its latest monthly agri-commodities report, the bank revised its estimate for the 2007/08 global cocoa surplus down by 2,000 tonnes to 102,000 tonnes.

It also said it had cut its estimates for global arabica and robusta coffee surpluses in 2006/07 with demand forecasts upwardly revised.

In cocoa, Fortis said there may have been rather too much rainfall in West African cocoa growing areas -- it was almost continuous in August -- which helped increase the incidence of black pod disease among farms where preventative husbandry had been lacking.

''The wider outbreak of this disease will dent Ivory Coast's 2007-08 main crop, but by how much is as yet largely a matter of guesswork,'' Fortis said.

Some reports have suggested it could be reduced by as much as 20,000 tonnes, which would be substantial.

Fortis has estimated a 2006/07 global cocoa deficit of 264,000 tonnes.

In coffee, the bank estimated a global arabica coffee surplus of 1.49 million bags in 2006/07, down from a previous forecast of 1.79 million and a robusta surplus of 1.09 million bags versus 1.39 million a month ago.

Production estimates were left unchanged from last month but demand for arabicas was raised to 72.70 million bags from 72.40 million and robustas to 45.90 million from 45.60 million.

Fortis said a rise in exports during 2006/07 had not been reflected in reported stocks in consumer countries.

''The logical conclusion is that this larger volume of exported coffee has in fact been consumed -- which would tend to suggest that the actual rate of demand growth is significantly higher than the overall average of some two percent a year,'' the report said.

Fortis put total production of arabica coffee in 2006/07 at 74.19 million bags, down from the previous year's 80.07 million.

Robusta output was put at 46.99 million bags, up from 41.09 million in 2005/06.


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