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North America 2Q Cocoa Grinding Seen Higher as Economy Improves

Cocoa processing in North America probably increased 4.4 percent in the second quarter as an improving economic outlook spurs demand from chocolate makers, a survey showed.

In the three months ended June 28, grinding may have risen to 117,762 metric tons from 112,768 a year earlier, according to the average of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg news.

Officials from the Federal Reserve predict the U.S. economy will grow 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent this year and 3 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014. That compares with 2.2 percent in 2012. U.S. chocolate sales climbed 6.3 percent in June from a year earlier, according to data from research company IRI compiled by Bloomberg Industries.

“The economy is looking better,” Fain Shaffer, the president of Infinity Trading Corp. in Medford, Oregon, said in a telephone interview. “It seems that the good times are back, and this should help demand for cocoa.”

The National Confectioners Association will release the official data on July 18 in Washington.

“Figures last year were lower than normal, and business has moderated,” Joe Mallaney, the managing director of soft commodities for Newedge USA LLC in New York, said in an e-mail. “Demand for nearby cocoa butter has picked up to encourage grind.”

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