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Cocoa Falls to Five-Week Low on West African Supply; Sugar Drops

Cocoa fell to a five-week low in New York on speculation supplies from West Africa are improving just as top growers Ivory Coast and Ghana started selling their next crop. Sugar also declined.

Bean exports from Ivory Coast’s port of San Pedro climbed 40 percent last month to 60,931 metric tons, according to data from the harbor. Cocoa arrivals at the country’s ports rose 6.4 percent to 595,000 tons from the start of the season on Oct. 1 to Dec. 16, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis. Both top producer Ivory Coast and second-ranking Ghana have already started to sell their next crop.

“The overall supply side picture has been improving as of late with favorable weather over West Africa, good survival rates, good mid-crop outlook, little to no Harmattan,” Eric Sivry, the head of agriculture options brokerage at Marex Spectron Group, said in a report e-mailed today. “All this has not been happening over the last 24 hours but was more the result of observations taking place over the past couple of weeks.”

Cocoa for March delivery fell 1 percent to $2,335 a ton by 8:23 a.m. ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price earlier declined to $2,334 a ton, the lowest since Nov. 12. New York cocoa gained 11 percent this year. Cocoa for March delivery fell 0.9 percent to 1,471 pounds ($2,393) a ton on NYSE Liffe in London, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 25. The commodity was still up 6.8 percent this year.

Weather Outlook

Favorable weather conditions and a “good” outlook for the mid-crop, the smaller of two annual harvests that starts in April in Ivory Coast, “combined with the announcement of new crop selling by Ivory Coast and the presence of Ghana led cocoa prices towards the bottom end of the recent range,” Sivry said.

Ivory Coast and Ghana sell part of their crop before the harvest starts. The 2013-14 season in both countries will begin in October. Harmattan winds coming from the desert are common in West Africa in December and January and can damage the crop.

Raw sugar for March delivery fell 1.4 percent to 18.96 cents a pound on ICE. It lost 18 percent this year. White, or refined, sugar for March delivery slid 1.4 percent to $510.80 a ton in London. It fell 15 percent this year.

Arabica coffee for March delivery was down 0.6 percent to $1.44 a pound in New York. It’s fallen 36 percent this year. Robusta coffee for March delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $1,890 a ton in London, 4.6 percent higher this year.

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