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Coffee Market Report Terms

Common terms featured in our market reports explained Back to Market Reports

If you are bearish you think the market will fall, and a bearish market is a market that is falling.

If you are bullish you think the market will rise, and a bullish market is a market that is rising.

Candlestick chart.
A Candlestick Chart is an effective way of analysing the market. It gives four pieces of data: market open, market close, the day’s highest market level & the day’s lowest market level.


Certified stocks
Certified stocks refer to coffee that has been graded by exchange (ICE) approved graders and is warehoused in exchange approved warehouses across the globe (Antwerp and New Orleans for example). These stocks ensure that the underlying commodity (Arabica or Robusta) of a futures contract (coffee future), meets the minimum specification as outlined in the futures contract (number of defects for example). Thousands of bags of coffee are literally sat in warehouses all across the globe waiting for market players to draw them down and roast them. They can sit there for years and the number of certified stocks is important because it gives you an indication of market sentiment on both the physical supply of coffee, and also the futures price. If there is a container of shortages in Brazil for example and people think there might be a short run shortage of supply for coffee, you might see an increase in the coffee futures price and if people need coffee and are drawing down certified stocks, this could exacerbate the uptrend.

Channels are double trend lines essentially. A line that can be drawn between connecting points parallel to the main trendline, creates a channel. Channels provide Support/floor (lower line) and resistance/ceiling (upper line) levels.

Coffee Futures.
The ICE Coffee C contract is the world benchmark for Arabica coffee. The contract prices physical delivery of exchange – grade green beans, from one of 20 countries of origin in a licensed warehouse to one of several ports in the U. S. and Europe. The contract covers 37,500 Lb, or 17,010kg and can be bought against different points in the future, segmented by the following terminal months: March, May, July, September and December. Reference: Intercontinental Exchange.

Commitment of Traders Report.
The aim of the Commitment of Traders (COT) Report is to provide detailed information on which type of market participant is doing what and many traders use this information to confirm or deny their opinion regarding market direction. What do we mean by market participants? In a nutshell, anyone who uses a futures market is either a commercial trader or a speculator. Commercial traders include anybody involved in the physical supply chain and they come to the futures market looking to offset their commercial risk.

Speculators (also known as funds) are happy to take on that commercial risk as they seek a profit. Speculators are often referred to as ‘the funds’ or ‘non-commercials’. By looking at the COT, we can watch how the funds are behaving and from this draw conclusions on market direction. The Arabica COT gets released every Friday evening and the data in the report relates to data up  Tuesday. Example: The COT report released on Friday 11th October actually relates to data between Tuesday 1st and Tuesday 8th of October. There is a time lag between the data cut off (8th) and data released (11th) Reference Intercontinental Exchange.

Double top and double bottom.
Double top and bottom patterns are chart patterns that occur when the underlying investment moves in a similar pattern to the letter “W” (double bottom) or “M” (double top). The double bottom is where the market drops, rebounds, drops to the original level where it dropped to previously, and then rebounds again. Double top is when the market grows, drops, grows again then drops down again. Reference: Investopedia. Also, see our January 2019 market report for further explanation.

Duration of trends.
Trends can be short term (hourly/daily), medium-term (weekly/monthly) or long-term (monthly/yearly). What duration constitutes a trend is subjective and will vary trader to trader.  For a day trader who is looking at 60 second charts, an hour would be medium term.

First Notice Day (FND).
For Arabica Futures, First Notice Day (FND) occurs 7 working days before the last working day of the calendar month. It is the first day that an investor who has purchased a futures contract may be required to take physical delivery from the exchange. Physical coffee traders, like us, close out our position (fix the price) before this day because we don’t want to take any delivery of coffee from the exchange.

Another name for US Dollars.

An investment to minimize or offset the chance as asset will lose value as a result of adverse price movements.

Market names.
Names given to the market are all referring to the same Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Coffee C Futures market, examples include Market, NYC, New York.

Open Interest
The number of ‘open’ positions in the futures market. Every time a market participant buys or sells a coffee future, at some stage, they will need to do the opposite transaction and close their position (for every action there is a reaction). Until they close that position, that lot will remain as 1 lot that comprises the Open Interest number because it’s open and still to be closed. For example, if I buy a coffee future, the Open Interest number will increase by 1. When I sell a coffee future, the Open Interest number will decrease by 1, as it nets out the coffee future I had already bought. That is assuming I have not bought or sold any other futures.

Why is worth paying attention to the Open Interest? It can help give you an idea of what the market is thinking. When looking at the price direction of the market, the open interest increase or decrease will give you an idea of market sentiment. For example, if the market is falling, and the open interest is increasing, this likely means that more and more market players take the view that the market will continue to fall and are selling futures to take advantage of this. You could consult the change in position of the speculators in the COT and see whether this backs up your hypothesis. As with all tools, you seek confirmation across a range of indicators to prove or disprove a view you might have.

Overbought vs. Oversold.
Overbought describes a short-term price extreme that the market has rallied too far, and too fast, and experts believe it’s selling more than its actually worth. Oversold is when the market has fallen too far, too fast over a short period and investors feel the stock is trading below its true value.

Short Covering.
Short covering is where the speculators (specs) are buying because they are too short and the market is tracking upwards.

Technical vs. Fundamental analysis.
Technical analysis: Technical analysis focuses on what actually happens: it is a method of predicting price movements and future market trends by studying charts and patterns of past market action. Fundamental analysis: A method of predicting price movements because of supply side developments like a frost in Brazil or a crop report of a big upcoming crop in Vietnam for example. Fundamental analysis focuses on what ought to happen.

The specs/funds vs commercials.
The specs, otherwise known as the funds or non-commercials, are market players who are buying and selling coffee futures primarily to make money on the futures transaction, they will never take delivery of the physical coffee. The commercials are market players who use coffee futures primarily to hedge their physical coffee.

Trendlines are drawn onto a chart to reflect a price movement. You need to be able to draw at least three consecutive connecting points for the trend to be valid. You can have an uptrend, a downtrend, and a sideways trend. They help us identify the direction and length of a trend. In this example the trend line is yellow.

Uptrends and downtrends.
These are types of trend lines. Uptrends should have higher highs and higher lows with the trend line drawn along the bottom of the trend. Downtrends should have lower highs and lower lows with the line drawn along the top of the trend.