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The cost of cocoa butter relative to beans held steady in Europe in the past three weeks after slumping last month as processing accelerated, according to three traders with direct knowledge of the sales.
The so-called butter ratio was 1.85 to 1.9 times the cost of cocoa futures on the NYSE Liffe exchange, said the traders, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. It was 1.8 to 1.85 on Feb. 20 and 2.05 to 2.1 a month earlier.
The ratio jumped 65 percent last year as processors slowed output, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of researcher Commodities Risk Analysis in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It slid this year after processors including Delfi Cocoa (Europe) GmbH and Cargill Inc. said they would grind more beans.
While global cocoa production will be little changed at 3.99 million metric tons in the 2012-13 season that started Oct. 1, processing will rise 3.4 percent to 4.05 million tons, Rabobank International estimates. That will leave the market with a shortage of 58,000 tons and help lift prices, according to Keith Flury, an analyst at the bank in London.
Cocoa for May delivery gained 0.1 percent to 1,443 pounds ($2,189) a ton by 12:34 p.m. in London.
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.