Cocoa Rebounds on Slowing Ivory Coast Deliveries Before Mid-Crop

Feb 20, 2014 8:07 am ET

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa rebounded in New York as traders weighed slowing deliveries in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, and the possibility of a large mid-crop, the smaller of two annual harvests starting in April. Coffee rose.

Farmers in Ivory Coast will harvest the biggest crop in three years this season partly due to “good” rains during the dry period, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc., which finances the cocoa trade in West Africa. Bean arrivals were 14 percent higher from the start of the season on Oct. 1 through Feb. 16, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis. Deliveries were 30 percent higher on Jan. 19.

“Arrivals have started to slow and it will now all depend on the mid-crop,” Edward George, head of soft commodities research at Lome, Togo-based lender Ecobank, said by phone from London today. “If we get a good mid-crop, there’s still a chance that this crop will be a record.”

Cocoa for delivery in May gained 0.6 percent to $2,951 a metric ton by 7:42 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after falling as much as 2 percent yesterday. Cocoa for delivery in the same month climbed 0.7 percent to 1,848 pounds ($3,079) a ton on NYSE Liffe in London. The prices fell as much as 1.6 percent yesterday.

Cocoa output in Ivory Coast will probably rise to 1.495 million tons in 2013-14, according to Ecobank. That compares with 1.445 million tons a year earlier. Growers harvested a record 1.51 million tons in 2010-11, data from the bank showed. Bean deliveries to ports in Ivory Coast amounted to 1.08 million tons as of Feb. 16, estimates KnowledgeCharts.

“The strength of deliveries has been distorted by middlemen withholding beans from last season’s mid-crop in expectation of higher prices this season,” George said in a report e-mailed today. “With main crop deliveries starting to slow, attention is focusing on the mid-crop.”

Brazil

Raw sugar for delivery in May slid 0.9 percent to 16.70 cents a pound on ICE. White, or refined, sugar for the same month delivery fell 0.8 percent to $458.20 a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Brazil’s center south, the main growing region of the world’s leading producer, will process 580 million tons of cane and make 32.5 million tons of sugar in the 2014-15 season that starts there in April, according to Datagro Ltd. Output from the start of the 2013-14 season through the second half of January was 596 million tons of cane and 34.3 million tons of sugar, data from industry group Unica in Sao Paulo showed.

Arabica for May delivery fell 5 percent to $1.64 a pound in New York. Earlier the price touched $1.775 a pound, the highest for a most-active contract since October 2012. Robusta coffee for delivery in the same month slid 0.9 percent to $1,940 a ton in London.

--Editors: Sharon Lindores, Dan Weeks