Cocoa prices near 50-year highs

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According to trading data, cocoa prices reached their highest level in over a half-century this week, owing to dwindling global supply.

New York futures for the essential component in chocolate climbed beyond $4,200 per metric tonne, the highest price for the commodity since September 1977, exceeding the 2011 peak caused by Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa export ban that year. So far this year, prices have risen by over 75%.

Experts attribute the price increase to bad crops in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, which supply two-thirds of the world’s cocoa beans, due to harsh weather and crop illnesses caused by farmers’ reduced fertiliser use. According to media reports, harvesting has already slowed in both regions compared to last season.

According to Trading Economics data, producers in Cote d’Ivoire shipped 348,560 metric tonnes of cocoa from October 1 to November 12, a 25.3% decrease from the same period previous year.

Analysts also predict that further price increases are inevitable as a result of the El Nio weather phenomenon, which is projected to dry out West Africa in the coming months. Supply problems are also worsened by rising global demand for cocoa beans, with processing increasing in Europe, Brazil, and Cote d’Ivoire in recent months.

According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the global market is facing a deficit of 116,000 metric tons of cocoa for the ongoing growing season (October 2022 to September 2023).