Cocoa futures plumb new lows, as Ivorian farmers deliver more beans

15.11.2016

Cocoa futures plumbed new three-year lows, as the farmers in West Africa deliver beans at well above last year's pace, after a slow start.

Farmers in Cote D'Ivoire, the world's top cocoa grower, delivered 64,000 tonnes of beans to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro, in the week to November 13.

This compares to deliveries of 47,000 tonnes at the same time last year.

Slow start to the season

Since the start of the season, cocoa bean deliveries from growers to ports in Cote D'Ivoire are at 316,000 tonnes.

This is still sharply lagging last year, down some 23%.

But the slow start to the season is believed to reflect a shortage of leftover beans from the previous season.

Farmers usually hold onto some of the previous season's beans, in order to benefit when the government sets the farm gate bean price for the next season.

Ideal weather

And traders expect the pace of arrivals to pick up, with near-ideal weather in West Africa, where most of the world's cocoa beans are produced.

"The weather in West Africa has featured a lot of rain, and production should be stronger," said Jack Scoville, at Price Futures Group.

"The growing conditions in just about all major production areas have been better than in the previous year."

No Harmattan worries

On Friday newswire Bloomberg reported an upbeat assessment of the crop in Ghana, the world's second ranked cocoa exporter, from the country's chief meteorologist.

Charles York said in an interview that the Harmattan, a dry wind that hits West Africa from December to February, would be mild this year, limiting the threat to cocoa plants.

Cocoa production last year was hit by a harsh Harmattan, which hurt production in West Africa.

March cocoa futures were down 2.0% in mid-day deals in New York, at $2,420 a tonne, the lowest lel for the second month contract since August 2013.


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