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West African Cocoa Areas’ Rainfall Seen Improving Crop Prospects

Cocoa-growing areas in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s largest producers, will get more rain in the next two to three weeks, improving prospects for the development of the next crop, according to Marcus Weather.

Weekly rainfall in the period will be about 20 millimeters to 30 millimeters, or 60 percent to 80 percent of the normal levels, said Kevin Marcus, founder of the weather consulting company in Passaic, New Jersey. The next cocoa crop starts in October and dryness in July and earlier this month threatened development in some growing regions in both countries.

The Ivorian southwestern Soubre region, which produces about 300,000 metric tons a year, got below-average rains in the first 10 days of August, data from the National Meteorological Service showed. Ghana’s western region, the biggest growing area, got 4.5 millimeters in the three towns monitored from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10, according to data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency. That compares with 35.4 millimeters a year earlier.

“In the past 24 hours, there have been some showers falling over Ivory Coast and Ghana,” Marcus said by phone today. “The outlook is still for below-average rainfall, but with a gradual increase in rain activity over the next two to three weeks.”

West Africa usually has dry weather in July and August, according to Marcus. Dry conditions started earlier than usual this year in Ivory Coast’s southwest, he said. The outlook for the 2012-13 cocoa crops will depend on rainfall levels next month and in October, with a “significant decline” being prevented if rains return, he said.

Crop Development

The next 30 days will be important for crop development, Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett Financial Advisors Inc. said in a report this week. Ivory Coast and Ghana accounted for 69 percent of the global supplies last season, according to the London-based International Cocoa Organization.

Cocoa for December delivery slid 1.6 percent to 1,584 pounds ($2,502) a ton by the close on NYSE Liffe in London. The beans dropped on speculation investors could pull out of the market as dry weather in top growing region West Africa may not have been enough to damage next season’s crop. There is talk of “better pod counts” in West Africa, Drew Geraghty, a broker at ICAP Futures LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey, said in a report e-mailed yesterday.

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