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Cocoa Rises to 32-Year High on Ivorian Unrest; Coffee Advances

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa rose to a 32-year high as escalating violence in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, threatened to disrupt exports. Coffee also advanced.

Conditions “are worsening,” the European Union said today. Cocoa has surged 32 percent since a disputed November election left Ivory Coast with rival administrations. President-elect Alassane Ouattara called for a monthlong ban on cocoa exports on Jan. 23 in a bid to cut off Laurent Gbagbo’s funds. The ban was extended last week until mid-March.

“The violence has been taken up another couple of notches,” said Drew Geraghty, a commodity broker at ICAP Futures LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. “The market is making higher highs.”

Cocoa for May delivery climbed $56, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $3,695 a metric ton at 12:21 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3,704, extending a rally to the highest since January 1979. The commodity, up 10 percent in February, has climbed 27 percent in the past 12 months.

In London, cocoa futures for May delivery gained 13 pounds, or 0.5 percent, to 2,381 pounds ($3,871) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Hedge funds and other managed-money speculators increased net-long position in New York cocoa futures to the highest since June, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Speculative long positions, or bets prices will rise, outnumbered short positions by 23,644 contracts as of Feb. 22, up 13 percent, CFTC data showed on Feb. 25.

Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery rose 3.9 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.717 a pound in New York. The price, up 11 percent in February, has doubled in the past 12 months.

In London, robusta-coffee futures for May delivery rose $45, or 1.9 percent, to $2,384 a ton.

To contact the reporters on this story: Isis Almeida in London at Ialmeida3@bloomberg.net; Chris Prentice in New York at cprentice3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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