Cocoa prices jump to fresh record on persistent supply fears

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Cocoa’s rally shows no sign of slowing, with prices surging to a fresh record in New York on mounting fears about supply shortages.

Futures climbed as much as 5% on Monday, after capping the biggest weekly jump since 1999. Prices have soared as drought and disease ravaged crops in key West African producers, threatening to raise costs for chocolate makers that risk being passed on to consumers.


There are persistent signs of tightening supplies from key exporters. Bean arrivals at ports for shipment in top grower Ivory Coast are running about a third behind last year’s pace, while Nigerian exports were down in January.

The weakness in bean arrivals and the risks of lower output from the smaller mid-crop harvest have “raised concerns about the availability of cocoa to meet already agreed sales obligations,” Saxo Bank AS Head of Commodity Strategy Ole Hansen wrote in a Monday report. Chocolate makers are probably being forced to enter the futures market to secure supplies, he added.

The latest US Commitment of Traders Report showed the recent move higher in cocoa was not driven by money managers, as funds have been net sellers of their long positions. That could mean the buying is coming from market participants that are cutting short positions and covering hedges, Hansen said.


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