Bloomberg News

West Africa Cocoa Areas to Get Less Rainfall in Next Week

July 10, 2012

Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s largest cocoa producers, will get less rainfall over the next seven days as the end of the rainy season approaches, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Coastal areas of top grower Ivory Coast and second-ranking Ghana will have dry weather through July 17, according to data on the NOAA website today. Most parts of both countries will get 10 to 30 millimeters (0.4 to 1.2 inches), while some areas in the northern region will get 75 millimeters to 100 millimeters, the data show. Ivory Coast’s central-western Daloa region, the nation’s biggest cocoa-growing area geographically, got about 52 millimeters in the June 21 to 30 period.

“It is notable that rains have been heavy, and farmer prices are low, so the situation does not bode well for diseases,” Keith Flury, a senior analyst at Rabobank International in London, said by e-mail today. “Given the spotty rain, it is hard to say sun is needed overall, but certainly some areas got far more rain than average and need sun to dry out while other areas do not have this need.”

The rainy season usually ends in July, according to Rabobank.

Dry weather and sun will potentially help the development of the 2012-13 crop that starts in October. Cocoa demand may outpace supplies by 73,000 metric tons in the 2012-13 season, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. That would follow a shortage of 20,000 tons in the current season.

“Although the pollination phase has been satisfactory in Ivory Coast, more sunshine is now needed to ensure that the beans ripen without being attacked by fungus and to produce a good main harvest from October,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a report e-mailed today.

Mid-Crop

The mid-crop, which usually starts in April, was delayed this year and there are already signs that it will end sooner than usual, according to Kona Haque, an analyst at Macquarie in London. Cocoa deliveries to ports in Ivory Coast dropped by 3.7 percent to 1.24 million tons from the start of the season through June, according to the International Cocoa Organization.

In Ghana, bean purchases by the regulator Cocobod for the main crop that ended at the beginning of June fell about 13 percent to 798,736 tons, the ICCO said in a report e-mailed July 6, adding that Ghanaian output has been hurt by “adverse weather conditions.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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