Across the board, commodities are getting absolutely clobbered right now.
As an investor, there are two ways you can look at this situation.
“When the sea is this turbulent, sit on the sand and watch.”
“Buy when there’s blood in the streets.”
With most commodities, I’d choose to sit on the sand. However, there’s one exception – coffee.
Coffee Demand Heating Up
Coffee continues to be a popular beverage not just in America, but around the world – especially in Asia.
Japan’s per capita coffee consumption is 75% of America’s and is still trending upwards. China is just beginning to follow this trend.
Now, my recommendation to invest in coffee isn’t based solely on seeing a nice upward trajectory of rising demand, but also the sharp pullback in coffee prices and pessimism about a potential bounce back.
With Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) jacking up the price of your daily coffee to the clever after-tax level of $1.99, you might not realize that coffee prices have plummeted over 40% in the last year.
And despite this sharp pullback, the vast majority of future traders are betting cash that it’ll drop even further. Brett Eversole points out that when this has happened in the past, coffee prices normally soared in the following four months.
Over the last decade, the average jump in coffee after pessimism reigned was 25%. Between April and August of 2013, however, coffee prices leapt an incredible 71%.
The most popular investment option to play fluctuations in the volatile coffee market is the iPath Bloomberg Coffee SubTR ETN (JO), which holds front-month coffee futures for exposure to the commodity. The note charges investors 75 basis points a year in fees and tracks the Dow Jones-UBS Coffee Index.
The product usually sees volumes of about 160,000 shares a day and has about $50 million in assets.
Keep in mind that the price of coffee largely depends on weather-related issues, especially in Brazil, which supplies about one-third of the world’s coffee.
Wet weather normally means ample supply, and that’s been the major reason for the oversupply and resulting price drop off. If recent trends of dryer weather persist, coffee could really take off.
This is a speculative trade, so don’t go overboard. More conservative investors should probably wait for an uptrend to develop and use a trailing stop loss. For the daring, JO offers options out to March of next year.
No question, coffee prices will snap back, making some investors more than enough money to continue their Starbucks habit. The tricky part is getting the timing right.
May the coffee gods be with you.
Carl T. Delfeld