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Cocoa Falls After North American Processing Data; Coffee Drops

Cocoa fell the most in more than two weeks in New York as bean processing in North America rose less than some traders anticipated. Coffee and sugar slid.

Bean processing in North America advanced 4.4 percent in the three months to Dec. 31, the Washington-based National Confectioners Association said yesterday after the market closed. Traders were anticipating a figure closer to 7 percent, said Justin Grandison, director of cocoa brokerage at ABN Amro Clearing Bank N.V. A Bloomberg survey of eight analysts published on Jan. 10 forecast an increase of 4.1 percent.

“The NCA grind figure coming out below the anticipated level has had a softening effect on the opening of both London and New York,” Grandison, based in London, said by e-mail today. “The increase wasn’t bad in itself, as this was a fifth straight quarterly report showing a year-on-year rise.”

Cocoa for delivery in March slid 1.5 percent to $2,712 a metric ton by 8:30 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price fell as much as 1.9 percent, the biggest decline since Jan. 2. In London, cocoa for delivery in the same month fell 2 percent to 1,738 pounds ($2,858) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Futures trading volumes were 26 percent higher on ICE than the average for the past 100 days for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“With London being due down on the opening as a result of New York’s weaker start, pockets of industry buying came into London,” ABN Amro’s Grandison said.

Cocoa Grind

Bean processing in North America amounted to 125,332 tons in the fourth quarter from 120,085 tons a year earlier, according to NCA figures. In Europe, grindings gained 6.2 percent in the same period, beating the 4.1-percent rise forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 12 traders, brokers and processors published on Jan. 10. Futures gained as much as 0.7 percent in London after the release of the European numbers.

In Malaysia, processing fell 9 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Malaysian Cocoa Board. The Cocoa Association of Asia plans to release combined figures for Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore next week. Global chocolate confectionery sales volume will rise 6.3 percent to $117 billion this year, estimates Euromonitor International Ltd., a consumer research company-based in London. In the Asia-Pacific region, sales will gain 8.9 percent to $14.4 billion.

Raw sugar for March delivery dropped 0.9 percent to 15.31 cents a pound on ICE. White, or refined, sugar for delivery in March fell 1.3 percent to $413.20 a ton on NYSE Liffe, after dropping as much as 1.5 percent to the lowest since April 2009.

“We are neutral on sugar prices from current levels, as a fourth consecutive year of global production surplus pushes prices towards parity with Brazilian ethanol and below cost of production in many parts of the world,” Morgan Stanley said in a report e-mailed today, forecasting excess supplies for the 2013-14 season started Oct. 1 at 4.7 million tons.

Arabica coffee for delivery in March fell 0.6 percent to $1.176 a pound on ICE. Robusta coffee for delivery in the same month slid 0.9 percent to $1,720 a ton in London.

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