Weather forecasters in the US and Japan predict the existing El Niño will last through summer in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to dry conditions that will likely impact coffee yields in Central and South America.
The climate phenomenon warms ocean waters in the Pacific which increases the chance of heavy rains in the southern United States, according to the US National Weather Service.
In the past El Niño conditions have contributed to droughts in Central and South America. A strong El Niño last appeared in 2009-2010.
Harvest estimates remain optimistic for now. Coffidential newsletter editor Carlos Brando writes that Brazilian exports reached a new record of 3 million bags in March, up 9.5% compared to the previous year. Exports for the quarter are up 4%. Production in Minas Gerais is expected to increase slightly in 2015 while robusta output will decline according to FCStone. The current estimate is 45 million 60-kilo bags. Colombia has has produced 3.8 million bags through April, up 8%. The annual total is expected to exceed 12 million bags.