Cocoa Prices Surge but Stay Below Peak Levels

Azeez Mustapha


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Cocoa prices are showing strength this morning, especially in NY cocoa, as they consolidate just below their recent all-time highs. However, gains in London cocoa are being restrained by a surge in the British pound, impacting cocoa priced in sterling terms.

Cocoa prices have surged this year, reaching a record high in NY cocoa on Monday and an all-time high in London cocoa last Tuesday. This increase is fueled by worries about diminishing global cocoa supplies.

With limited availability, cocoa processors worldwide are paying a premium in the cash market to secure their cocoa stocks amid growing concerns of potential supply contract defaults from West African cocoa suppliers.

The price of cocoa has more than doubled (+143%) since the beginning of the year, driven by the most severe supply shortage witnessed in four decades.A significant bullish factor for cocoa prices is the decline in its production in the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer.

Government data released on Monday revealed that Ivory Coast farmers shipped 1.3 million metric tons (MMT) of cocoa to ports from October 1 to April 7, marking a 27.8% decrease compared to the same period last year.

Ecom Agroindustrial, a leading trader, projects that cocoa production in Ivory Coast for the 2023/24 season, ending in September, will plummet by 21.5% year-on-year to a low of 1.75 MMT, the lowest in eight years.
Cocoa Prices Surge but Stay Below Peak LevelsIn Ghana, the Cocoa Board (Cocobod) announced on March 25 that the country’s cocoa harvest for the 2023/24 season will only range between 422,500 metric tons (MT) to 425,000 MT, which is half of the initial forecast and the lowest in 22 years, as adverse weather conditions and diseases have ravaged the cocoa crop.

Worries about the West African mid-crop, the smaller of the two annual harvests, are also contributing to the tightness in cocoa supplies. Projections for the Ghana mid-crop, starting in July, have been slashed to 25,000 MT, down from an earlier forecast of 150,000 MT.

Record-high cocoa prices are beginning to dampen global demand. According to the National Confectioners Association, North American cocoa grindings dropped by 3.0% year-on-year to 103,971 metric tons in the fourth quarter of the year, as reported on January 12.

Similarly, the Cocoa Association of Asia reported an 8.5% year-on-year decline in Asian fourth-quarter cocoa grindings to 211,202 metric tons.

Additionally, the European Cocoa Association noted a 2.5% year-on-year decrease in European fourth-quarter cocoa grindings to 350,739 metric tons.

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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.

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