Honduran coffee exports drop 17% as coronavirus pandemic bites

TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Honduran coffee exports dropped 17.2% in December from a year earlier after demand on the world market fell amid closures of economies in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, an industry executive said on Monday.

Central America’s top coffee producer and exporter reported shipments of 281,470.65 bags at 60 kilos in December, down from 339,952.31 bags in the corresponding month a year earlier, preliminary figures from IHCAFE reports show.

“The drop in sales in December is due to a lower demand for the bean on the world market due to the confinements in the buying countries, especially in Europe,” said Miguel Pon, executive director of the country’s association of coffee exporters AHDECAFE.

“The gap isn’t greater because November contracts went to December and coffee from the previous 2019-2020 harvest was also exported.”

Between October and December, 357,432.27 bags of 60 kilos of the 2020-2021 harvest were exported - 31.5% less than in the previous period.

The coffee harvest in Honduras and other Central American countries runs from October to September the following year. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)