The head of coffee giant Illy took some air out of ballooning hopes for Brazil’s coffee output next season, saying it may fall short of figures of 60m bags mentioned by some observers.
Andrea Illy, the Illy chairman and chief executive, and grandson of the group’s founder, agreed that Brazil looked set for a strong harvest in 2012-13, an "on" year in the country’s two-season cycle of higher and lower production.
"Flowering was very good," Mr Illy said.
If the cherries developed well, "we could have a very good crop in quality and in quantity" which "could reach 58m bags".
However, production was more likely to come in at 55m bags, he added.
While still enough to set a record by a margin – the current record is 48.5m bags, set in 2002-03 – the estimate is below that of many other analysts.
CeCafe, the Brazilian coffee exporters’ council, has pegged the figure at 57m-58m tonnes, while shipper Comexim has forecast the crop at 57.5m-60m bags.
In New York, veteran soft commodities analyst Judith Ganes-Chase has said the crop could reach 60m bags "assuming all goes well", while flagging some potential losses to winter frost.
Brazil’s 2012-13 crop is being viewed with particular interest given that, it being an "on" year, it offers an opportunity for the world’s biggest coffee grower and exporter to replenish world stocks after a succession of seasons of deficit.
With the country consuming some 19m bags a year itself, if a number growing fast, a 60m-bag harvest implies a surplus of some 40m bags.
In 2011-12, consensus industry data imply a surplus of roughly 24m bags.