Cocoa Futures Climb to Nine-Month High; Sugar, Coffee Advance

Cocoa futures rose to a nine-month high as tensions escalated in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer. Sugar and coffee also gained.

The second-ranking official in the Ivory Coast’s opposition political party was charged with harming public order, a prosecutor said today. Authorities say supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, the ex-president, are behind a series of attacks on military targets since early August. A civil war roiled the nation early last year.

“There are worries about the situation in Ivory Coast,” Jerome Jourquin, the head of agricultural commodity derivatives at Aurel BGC, a broker in Paris, said in an e-mail. “If we have a civil war again, it will be very bullish for cocoa.”

Cocoa for December delivery surged 3.8 percent to settle at $2,568 a metric ton at 12:09 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the commodity reached $2,590, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 10.

In March 2011, the price reached a 32-year high after Gbagbo refused to cede power following a disputed presidential election in November 2010. The opposition has denied that it is behind the latest attacks.

“Little by little, the market is absorbing a risk premium on the tensions that continue to build in West Africa,” Hector Galvan, a senior broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in an e-mail. “The trade is nervous and is trying to balance out the lack of available cocoa should war break out again.”

Last year, President Alassane Ouattara ordered a four-month ban on cocoa exports to cut off funds to his rival.

Raw-sugar futures for October delivery jumped 2.9 percent to 20.13 cents a pound in New York, the biggest gain since June 27.

Arabica-coffee futures for December delivery increased 0.4 percent to $1.6795.