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Bahia’s Main Cocoa Crop May Be 12% Larger, Hartmann Estimates

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The main cocoa crop in Bahia, Brazil’s biggest growing region, may be 12 percent higher than an earlier estimate as the incidence of disease was less than expected, according to analyst Thomas Hartmann.

The main crop may total 950,000 bags or more, compared with an earlier forecast of 850,000 bags, Hartmann wrote in a Sept. 7 report. For the 2010-2011 season, Bahia may produce 2.3 million bags, matching “a performance only recorded exceptionally once in 2003-2004 after it dropped to below this level starting in 1997-1998,” Hartmann wrote. Bahia represents at least 70 percent of Brazilian output.

The impact of the witches-broom fungus in Bahia was smaller than expected, wrote Hartmann, who’s been involved in the industry for 44 years, according to a Sept. 2 e-mail. The disease, which causes trees to produce branches with no fruit, has cut Bahia’s output by almost 70 percent over 10 years, according to the International Cocoa Organization’s website.

Cocoa futures in New York have fallen 17 percent this year, and the contract for December delivery lost 1.8 percent to $2,722 a metric ton on ICE Futures U.S. yesterday.

Weekly cocoa arrivals from Bahia fell to 39,168 bags in the period to Sept. 5, from 43,557 bags a week earlier, possibly because of hoarding by small merchants, Hartmann wrote. Total arrivals from Brazil for the week were 66,566 bags, according to Hartmann, compared with 68,773 bags the previous week. A bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

Hartmann is a board member of the Commercial Association of Bahia in charge of the group’s statistical service on Brazilian cocoa output, according to the Sept. 2 e-mail. He has worked as commercial and financial director of cocoa processing factories in Bahia, the e-mail said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at

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