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Cocoa May Be in Surplus in 2011-12 as Demand Falls, Ecobank Says

Cocoa supplies may outpace demand for a second year in the 2011-12 season starting in October as consumption falls, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc., the Togo-based lender operating in more than 30 African countries.

The surplus may be about 100,000 metric tons on top of roughly 200,000 tons this season, Edward George, a London-based commodities specialist at Ecobank, said in an e-mail in response to questions today. Production lagged behind grindings, an indication of demand, by 89,000 tons in 2009-10, according to the London-based International Cocoa Organization.

“Grindings are more likely to fall than rise next year,” he said in the e-mail. “We do not expect a global deficit next year.”

The median estimate of eight people in a Bloomberg survey yesterday was for a shortage of 59,000 tons for 2011-12 after a record surplus of 362,250 tons this season. Output in the Ivory Coast, the world’s largest grower, will be 1.45 million tons this season, and Ghana will produce 1 million tons, George said in the e-mail.

Earnings from cocoa exports in Ivory Coast this season may be slowed because of smaller beans in the mid-crop, the smaller of two annual harvests, he said.

“The Ivorian mid-crop has produced a high proportion of small beans and this will weaken the expected surge in cocoa export earnings this season,” he said.

Cocoa for September climbed 5 pounds, 0.3 percent, to 1,841 pounds ($2,999) a ton by 11:10 a.m. on NYSE Liffe in London.

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