Coffee is one of the most popular imports into the U.S. with over 320,000 records in the Import Genius database of 79 million shipping manifests. It was also number two on the list for the fastest growing U.S. imports in 2011. According to the Import Genius pulse tool, which indicates industry trends among globally traded products, coffee imports into the U.S. were steady throughout 2012, but they sharply dropped off in December.

Imports have remained flat throughout the beginning of this year since that drop. Shipments were fairly steady from 2009-2011 while 2012 saw a marked increase in imports with 854 more shipments amounting to 506,194,738 more pounds than in 2011.  According to a report released this week by Isis Almeida of Bloomberg News, Robusta coffee exports from Vietnam are expected to fall about 35 percent this month. Vietnam is the top grower for Robusta coffee varieties, preferred by some over the popular Arabica bean. The Import Genius pulse indicates the Robusta variety has seen a similar trend compared to overall coffee imports, with a spike towards the end of 2012 and a dropoff of imports since January of this year.  Almeida also reports that shipments of Robusta coffee are down 17 percent this year. From the looks of imports received so far in 2013, this year doesn’t seem to be on track with shipments to date last year. Import genius records show that 426 shipments have been received this year, compared to over 1,000 recorded near the end of April in 2012. This is a 58% year-over-year change.  Almeida also pointed to sugar’s downhill slide. “White sugar for August delivery was down 0.3 percent to $497.80 a ton in London. Raw sugar for July delivery slid as much as 0.7 percent to 17.25 cents a pound, the lowest since July 19, 2010.” Sugar is among the top ten products that are most commonly searched on Import Genius. Sugar’s pulse shows that shipments peaked in November of 2012, and sharply declined thereafter. The same trend was evident in 2011.  With exports from Vietnam expected to drop, this raises the question as to what other countries are major suppliers of Robusta coffee. The majority of Robusta coffee imports received at U.S. ports this year have come from Malaysia. Singapore is the second biggest exporter this year, and Vietnam is currently in third place.  Source: Robusta Coffee Gains as Vietnam Exports Set to Drop; Sugar Falls