In the wake of the new outbreak, the food and beverage industry around the world has been hit. The phenomenon of pouring milk, rolling vegetables, and cutting flowers are both surprising and regrettable. But one type of food is an unexpected winner.
Demand rose as consumers rushed to grab a coffee. Arabica coffee on the ICE futures exchange has surged 20 percent to $1.20 a pound since the start of Fe+bruary, making it one of the world's best-performing commodities.
The Coffee C contract, the benchmark for high-quality arabica Coffee, is currently hovering around $117.
Cost on coffee rose 34.6 percent in France and 29.5 percent in Italy compared with the same period last year, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market researcher.
According to Google Trends, "Dalgona coffee" has become the most searched coffee type in the world, surpassing all other coffee records. Global searches rose 1,800% in mid-march and another 1,700% in mid-April.
Most experts attribute the rise in coffee prices to a "short-term panic buying effect" at supermarkets.
But with most shoppers already backlogged, coffee demand is likely to ease in the coming weeks. Philip Searle, a senior coffee trader in PRWakefield, said: "at the supermarket, everyone was buying it in bulk and it was a peak but it's back to normal now."
ICO also released a report last week on how the new outbreak will affect the global coffee industry. Despite the industry's overall steady growth, coffee prices have continued to fall since 2016, dropping 30 percent from the average price over the past decade, as the report shows.
And an increase in coffee consumption at home would offset a drop in spending by outside retailers. "Lower household incomes could lead to less demand for coffee. In addition, price-sensitive consumers may replace high-value coffees with lower-value blends or brands."
Analysts warn that demand for the beans could plumb due to the world recession later this year.
Jose dorster Sette, executive director of the international coffee organization, warned Markets Insider on Wednesday: "our model predicts a 1% drop in GDP will lead to a 0.95% drop in coffee consumption."
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