Bloomberg News

Cocoa Nears Six-Month Low on West African Supplies; Sugar Falls

December 20, 2012

Cocoa fell to the lowest level in almost six months in London on speculation supplies from West Africa are improving just as top growers Ivory Coast and Ghana started selling their next crop. Sugar slid.

Bean exports from Ivory Coast’s port of San Pedro climbed 40 percent last month to 60,931 metric tons, according to data from the harbor. Cocoa arrivals at the country’s ports rose 6.4 percent to 595,000 tons from the start of the season on Oct. 1 to Dec. 16, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis. Both top producer Ivory Coast and second-ranking Ghana have already started to sell their next crop.

“The overall supply side picture has been improving as of late with favorable weather over West Africa, good survival rates, good mid-crop outlook, little to no Harmattan,” Eric Sivry, the head of agriculture options brokerage at Marex Spectron Group, said in a report e-mailed today. “This combined with the announcement of new crop selling by Ivory Coast and the presence of Ghana led cocoa prices towards the bottom end of the recent range.”

The Harmattan winds coming from the desert are common in West Africa in December and January and can damage the cocoa crop.

Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to 1,475 pounds ($2,399) a ton by 11:03 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 26. The commodity was still up 6.9 percent this year. Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $2,344 a ton ICE Futures U.S. in New York. It gained 11 percent this year.

Ivory Coast and Ghana usually sell part of their crop before the harvest starts. That creates additional selling pressure on cocoa traded on futures markets. The 2013-14 season in both countries will begin in October.

Refined Sugar

White, or refined, sugar for March delivery slid 0.8 percent to $513.50 a ton in London. It fell 15 percent this year. Raw sugar for March delivery fell 1 percent to 19.04 cents a pound on ICE. It lost 18 percent this year.

Robusta coffee for March delivery advanced 0.9 percent to $1,886 a ton in London, 4.2 percent higher this year. Arabica coffee for March delivery was down 0.9 percent to $1.4355 a pound in New York. It’s fallen 37 percent this year.

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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