Cocoa Falls on Concern European Demand Slowing; Coffee Climbs

Cocoa fell for a third day in London on speculation Europe’s economic slowdown is curbing demand and as exports from Nigeria, the world’s fourth-largest producer, are set to resume. Robusta coffee and white sugar advanced.

Cocoa-bean processing in Europe rose 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the European Cocoa Association said Jan. 13. That was below the 7.5 percent estimate from analysts and traders in a Bloomberg News survey and the third quarter’s 14 percent increase. Nigeria will resume cocoa exports “immediately” after a national strike was called off, Olakunle Akingbola, a business manager at Lagos-based Cobalt International Services, said by phone today.

“Expectations of robust demand for cocoa in Europe were disappointed,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, wrote in a report e-mailed today. “The cooling of demand is not sufficient to give additional buoyancy to prices, given that a moderate market surplus had already been anticipated for the 2011-12 season.”

Cocoa for March delivery slid 2 percent to settle at 1,481 pounds ($2,269) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London. The ICE Futures U.S. exchange, where cocoa, raw sugar and arabica coffee trade in New York, is closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The global cocoa market will have a “modest surplus” in the current season, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report e-mailed Jan. 13. It forecast prices for the beans traded in New York of $2,450 in three to 12 months, compared with the close of $2,269 a ton for the March contract on Jan. 13.

Standard & Poor’s on Jan. 13 cut credit ratings for nine euro-region nations including France.

Robusta coffee for March delivery gained 1.2 percent to $1,854 a ton in London. White, or refined, sugar for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $625.50 a ton.

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