Read All About Coffee Part 56

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Something of the sort may have taken place again in 1920, when there was a three-pound jump over the year before. It will be interesting to see whether this is merely a jump or a permanent rise; whether our coffee trade has climbed to a hilltop or a plateau.

In this connection it should be noted that the government’s per capita coffee figures apply only to continental United States, and that in computing them all the various items of trade of the non-contiguous possessions (not counting the Philippines, whose statistics are kept entirely separate from those of the United States proper) are carefully taken into account.

But for the benefit of students of coffee figures it should be added that this method does not result in a final figure except for one year in ten. The reason is that between censuses the population of the country is determined only by estimates; and these estimates (by the U.S. Bureau of the Census) are based on the average increase in the preceding census decade. The increase between 1910 and 1920, for instance, is divided by 120, the number of months in the period, and this average monthly increase is a.s.sumed to be the same as that of the current year and of other years following 1920. Until new figures are obtained in 1930, the monthly increase will continue to be estimated at the same rate as the increase from 1910 to 1920, or about 118,000. This figure will be used in computing the per capita coffee consumption. But when the 1930 figures are in, it may be found that the estimates were too low or too high, and the per capita figures for all intervening years will accordingly be subject to revision. This will not amount to much, probably five-hundredths of a pound at most; but it is evident that between 1920 and 1930 all per capita consumption figures issued by the government are to be considered as provisional to that extent at least.

In the 1920 _Statistical Abstract_ the government has revised its per capita coffee and tea figures to conform to actual instead of estimated population figures between 1910 and 1920, with the result that these figures are slightly different from those published in previous editions of the _Abstract_. Figures from 1890 to 1910 have also been slightly changed, as they were originally computed by using population figures as of June 1, whereas it is desirable to have computations based on July 1 estimates to make them conform to present per capita figures.

_Reviewing the 1921 Trade in the United States_

According to the latest available foreign trade summaries issued by the government, the United States bought more coffee in 1921 than in any previous calendar year of our history, although the total imports did not quite reach the highest fiscal-year mark. Our purchases pa.s.sed the 1920 mark by more than 40,000,000 pounds and were higher than those of two years ago by 3,500,000 pounds.

But this record was made only in actual amounts shipped, as the value of imported coffee was far below that of immediately preceding years.

Coffee values, however, fell off less than the average values for all imports, the decrease for coffee being forty-three percent and for the country’s total imports fifty-two percent.

Exports of coffee were somewhat less in quant.i.ty than in 1920, and about the same as in 1919; although the value, like that of imports, was considerably less than in either previous year.

Re-exports of foreign coffee were considerably below the 1920 mark, in both quant.i.ty and value, and indeed were less than in several years. The amount of tea re-exported to foreign countries was only about half that shipped out in 1920, showing a continuation of the tendency of the United States to discontinue its services as a middleman, which raised the through traffic in tea several million pounds during the dislocation of shipping.

Actual figures of amounts and values of gross coffee imports for the three calendar years, 1919-1921, have been as follows:

_Pounds_ _Value_ 1921 1,340,979,776 $142,808,719 1920 1,297,439,310 252,450,651 1919 1,337,564,067 261,270,106

This represents a gain of three and three-tenths percent over 1920 in quant.i.ty and of only about one-fifth of one percent over 1919. The decrease in value in 1921 was forty-three percent from the figures for 1920 and forty-five percent from those of 1919.

Domestic exports of coffee, mostly from Hawaii and Porto Rico, amounted to 34,572,967 pounds valued at $5,895,606, as compared with 36,757,443 pounds valued at $9,803,574 in the calendar year 1920, or a decrease of six percent in quant.i.ty and forty percent in value. In 1919 domestic exports were 34,351,554 pounds, having a value of $8,816,581, practically the same in quant.i.ty, but showing a falling off of thirty-three percent in value.

Re-exports of foreign coffee amounted to 36,804,684 pounds in 1921, having a value of $3,911,847, a decline of twenty-five percent from the 49,144,691 pounds of 1920 and of fifty-four percent from the 81,129,691 pounds of 1919; whereas in point of value there was a decrease of fifty-six percent from 1920, which was $9,037,882, and of eighty-eight percent from that of 1919, which was $16,815,468.

The average value per pound of the imported coffee, according to these figures, works out at little more than half that of either 1920 or 1919, ill.u.s.trating the precipitate drop of prices when the depression came on.

The pound value in 1921 was 10.6c.; for 1920, 19.4c.; and for 1919, 19.5c. These values are derived from the valuations placed on shipments at the point of export, the “foreign valuation” for which the much discussed “American valuation” is proposed as a subst.i.tute. They accordingly do not take into account costs of freight, insurance, etc.

It is interesting to note that the average valuation of 10.6c. a pound for coffee shipped during the calendar year is a substantial drop from the 13.12c. a pound that was the average for the fiscal year 1921, showing that the decline in values continued during the last half of the calendar year.

Coffee imports in 1921 continued to run in about the same well-worn channels as in previous years, according to the figures showing the trade with the producing countries. The United States, as heretofore, drew almost its whole supply from its neighbors on this side of the globe; the countries to the south furnishing ninety-seven percent of the total entering our ports. The three chief countries of South America contributed eighty-five percent; and the share of Brazil alone was sixty-two and five-tenths percent.

Brazil’s progress to her normal pre-war position in our coffee trade is rather slow, although she continues to show a gain in percentage each year. Formerly we obtained seventy percent to seventy-five percent of our coffee from that country; but war conditions, diverting nearly all of Central America’s production to our ports, reduced the proportion to almost half. In 1919 this had risen to fifty-nine percent, in 1920 it was somewhat over sixty percent, and in 1921 it attained a mark of sixty-two and five-tenths percent. The actual amount shipped, which was 839,212,388 pounds having a value of $77,186,271, was about seven percent higher than in 1920, which was 785,810,689 pounds valued at $148,793,593; and about the same percent higher than that of 1919–787,312,293 pounds valued at $160,038,196. Although the actual poundage showed an increase, it will be noted that the value fell off almost one-half as compared with 1920, and more than one-half as compared with the year before.

The real feature of the year, and perhaps the most interesting development in the coffee trade of this country in recent years, is the steady advance of Colombian coffee.

In the year before the war, we obtained from our nearest South American neighbor 87,176,477 pounds of coffee valued at $11,381,675, which was about ten percent of our total imports. In 1919, the first year after the war, this amount was almost doubled, being 150,483,853 pounds with a value of $30,425,162. In 1920, there was a further increase to 194,682,616 pounds valued at $41,557,669, and in 1921 the high mark of 249,123,356 pounds valued at $37,322,305 was reached. This was a gain of twenty-eight percent over 1920 shipments; and, although the value was less than in the year before, the decrease was only ten percent in a year when the average fall in value was forty-three percent.

It will be news to many people interested in the coffee trade that the value of Colombian coffee now imported into the United States is almost half the value of the Brazilian coffee–$37,000,000 as compared with $77,000,000. The number of pounds imported is a little less than one-third the Brazilian contribution; but at the present rate of increase, it will pa.s.s the half mark in a few years.

Colombia and Venezuela together now supply considerably more than half as much coffee as Brazil in value, and more than one-third as much in quant.i.ty. The average value of Colombian coffee in 1921 was about fifteen cents a pound, as compared with eleven cents for Venezuelan, nine cents for Brazilian, ten cents for Central American, and ten and six-tenths cents for total coffee imports.

Shipments from Venezuela showed a drop in quant.i.ty of nine percent as compared with 1920 imports, being 59,783,303 pounds valued at $6,798,709; in 1920 they were 65,970,954 pounds valued at $13,802,995; and in 1919, they were 109,777,831 pounds valued at $23,163,071.

The figures relating to imports from Central America are of interest as showing to what extent we are continuing to hold the trade of the war years, when nearly all coffee shipped from that region came to the United States. Although there has probably been a considerable swing back to the trade with Europe, the 1921 figures show that a large percent of the trade that this country gained during the war is being retained. Imports in 1921 were considerably lower than in 1920 or in 1919, but were still more than three times as heavy as in 1913, the last year of normal trade.

The displacement of Central America’s trade by the war, and the extent to which it has so far returned to old channels, are ill.u.s.trated in the table of Imports into the United States from Central America in the last nine years on page 301.

As Germany was very prominent in pre-war trade, it is likely that more and more coffee will be diverted from the United States as German imports gradually increase to their old level.


_Year_ _Pounds_ _Value_ 1913 36,326,440 $4,635,359 1914 44,896,856 5,465,893 1915 71,361,288 8,093,532 1916 111,259,125 12,775,921 1917 148,031,640 15,751,761 1918 195,259,628 19,234,198 1919 131,638,695 19,375,179 1920 159,204,341 30,388,567 1921 118,607,382 12,308,250

Imports from Mexico in 1921 were greater by thirty-eight percent than in 1920, but were less than in 1919, and were still much below the normal trade before the war. The total was 26,895,034 pounds having a value of $3,475,122, as compared with 19,519,865 pounds valued at $3,873,217 in the year before, and with 29,567,469 pounds valued at $5,434,884 in 1919. The imports in 1913 were more than 40,000,000 pounds, in 1914 more than 43,000,000 pounds, and in 1915 more than 52,000,000 pounds.

West Indian coffees showed a gradual settling back to pre-war figures, which ranged from 3,000,000 to 12,000,000 pounds annually, but which in 1918, the last year of the war, leaped to 52,000,000 pounds. In 1919 they amounted to 42,013,841 pounds valued at $7,575,051; and in 1920, fell to 29,204,674 pounds valued at $5,711,993. In 1921 they continued to drop, the total being 15,398,073 pounds valued at $1,518,784, a decrease of forty-seven and three-tenths percent in quant.i.ty.

The year under review showed practically a return to normal for importations from Aden, which up to 1917 ran about 3,000,000 pounds a year. In that year the full effects of the war were felt in the Aden district, and shipments of coffee to this country dropped to 187,817 pounds. They rose to 432,000 pounds in 1918; and in 1919, to 681,290 pounds valued at $141,391. In 1920 there was a further rise to 889,633 pounds valued at $200,505; and in 1921 they amounted to 2,799,824 pounds valued at $476,672. But this trade is of little importance compared with that of the producing countries of this hemisphere, being less than one percent of our total imports.

Imports from the Dutch East Indies continued to decline, being fifty-five percent less than in 1920. The total of 12,438,016 pounds, however, valued at $1,771,602, is still two or three times the normal pre-war importations.

Exports of coffee in 1921–33,389,805 pounds of green coffee valued at $5,590,318 and 1,183,162 pounds of roasted valued at $305,288–were about the same as those of the year before in quant.i.ty, although much lower in value. The 1920 shipments were 34,785,574 pounds valued at $9,223,966 of green coffee and 1,971,869 pounds of roasted valued at $579,608.

In the re-export trade, shipments of coffee were lower than in several years, total amounts for 1921, 1920, and 1919 being 36,804,684 pounds, 49,144,091 pounds, and 81,129,641 pounds, and total values $3,911,847, $9,037,882, and $16,815,468.


_Percentage of_ _increase (+) or_ _decrease (-) of_ _1921 imports_ _compared_ 1919 1920 1921 _with 1920_.

/ / / From Quant.i.ty Value Quant.i.ty Value Quant.i.ty Value Quant.i.ty Value Central America 9.80 7.40 12.30 12.00 8.80 8.60 -25.50 -50.00 Mexico 2.20 2.10 1.50 1.50 2.00 2.40 +37.80 -10.30 West Indies 3.10 2.90 2.20 2.20 1.10 1.00 -47.30 -73.40 Brazil 58.80 61.30 60.50 58.90 62.50 54.00 +6.80 -48.10 Colombia 11.20 11.60 15.00 16.40 18.50 26.10 +28.00 -10.20 Venezuela 8.20 8.90 5.10 5.10 4.40 4.80 -9.30 -50.70 Aden 0.05 0.05 0.07 0.08 0.20 0.30 214.80 +137.70 Dutch East Indies 4.20 3.80 2.10 2.00 0.90 1.20 -55.70 -65.40 Other countries 2.45 1.95 1.23 1.52 1.60 1.60 … …

—— —— —— —— —— —— ——- ——- Total 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 +3.40 -43.40

Re-exports to France fell off from 16,760,977 pounds in 1920 to 11,429,952 in 1921. Mexico took 3,236,245 pounds as compared with 9,892,639 in the previous year, and Cuba also reduced her purchases from 6,319,105 pounds to 2,831,109. Shipments to Denmark, 4,099,403 pounds, were practically the same as in 1920, 3,951,166 pounds, as were also those to Germany, 3,200,158 pounds as compared with 2,917,773 in 1920.

In the trade of the two coffee-exporting possessions of the United States, Hawaii and Porto Rico, the 1921 figures show a considerable increase in shipments from Hawaii to continental United States and to foreign countries, while exports from Porto Rico fell off slightly.

Hawaii in 1921 sent 803,905 pounds valued at $123,347 to foreign countries, which compared with 687,597 pounds valued at $200,180 in the year before, and 4,183,046 valued at $650,036 to continental United States, as against 1,885,703 pounds valued at $476,033 in the previous year.

Porto Rico’s crop, as usual, furnished the bulk of the domestic exports of the United States to foreign countries–29,546,348 pounds valued at $5,027,741, as against 1920 exports of 31,321,415 pounds valued at $8,455,908. Shipments from Porto Rico to continental United States amounted to 211,531 pounds valued at $35,780, as against 418,127 pounds valued at $118,663 in 1920.

Following are the figures of re-exports of coffee by countries in the calendar year 1921:


_Country_ _Pounds_ Belgium 2,717,949 Denmark 4,099,403 France 11,429,952 Germany 3,200,158 Greece 539,933 Netherlands 920,855 Norway 237,155 Sweden 1,935,641 Canada 1,037,628 Mexico 3,236,245 Cuba 2,831,109 Other Countries 4,618,656 ———- Total 36,804,684

Per capita consumption of coffee in continental United States showed a slight increase during the calendar year 1921 over that of 1920, the figure being 12.09 pounds as against 11.70 for the previous year. This calendar-year figure compares with the fiscal-year figure of 12.21 pounds, indicating that imports during the last half of 1920 were somewhat heavier than during the last half of 1921.

The various items for the two calendar years 1920 and 1921 are shown as follows:

1921 1920 _Calendar year_, _Calendar year_, (_pounds_) (_pounds_) (a) Total imports into U.S. 1,340,979,776 1,297,439,310 (b) Imports into non-contiguous territory from foreign countries 7,410 27 ————- ————- (c) (a) minus (b) 1,340,972,366 1,297,439,283 (d) Total exports from U.S. 34,572,967 36,757,443 (e) Exports from non-contiguous territory to foreign countries 30,363,098 32,028,832 ———- ———- (f) (d) minus (e) 4,209,869 4,728,611 (g) Total re-exports from U.S. 36,804,684 49,144,691 (h) Re-exports from non-contiguous territory to foreign countries … 20,008 ——— ———- (i) (g) minus (h) 36,804,684 49,124,683 (j) Imports into continental U.S. from non-contiguous territory 4,394,577 2,303,830 (k) Exports to non-contiguous territory from continental U.S. 798,644 972,303 ———- ——— (l) (j) minus (k) 3,595,933 1,331,527 Net consumption, continental U.S.: (c) minus (f) minus (i) plus (l) 1,303,553,746 1,244,917,516 Population, July 1 107,833,279 106,418,170 Per capita consumption, 1921 12.09 11.70



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