Cocoa Rises to 4-Year High as El Nino Intensifies Supply Concern

  • Indonesia, Ivory Coast experienced dry weather this year
  • Cocoa deliveries slowing to ports in Ivory Coast, top producer

Cocoa prices climbed to the highest in more than four years as dryness in Indonesia and slowing deliveries in Ivory Coast added to concerns about supply.

The’ll probably be a global deficit of about 150,000 metric tons of cocoa this season, according to Rabobank International. El Nino is parching crops in Indonesia, the third-biggest grower, and dryness earlier this year in West Africa means output in top producer Ivory Coast may be smaller than last season, said Carlos Mera Arzeno, an analyst at the bank in London. Cocoa deliveries to Ivory Coast ports slowed in the most recent week.

Ivory Coast deliveries “decelerated faster than the market was expecting,” Mera said. "If we see lower arrivals in the next few weeks, that would be bullish for the market.”

Cocoa for delivery in March rose as much as 1.3 percent to $3,420 a ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the highest level since March 2011. It traded at $3,406 by 7:23 a.m. local time. The commodity has risen 17 percent this year, the biggest gain in the S&P GSCI Index of 24 raw materials.

Port arrivals in Ivory Coast were about 50,000 tons in the week ended Nov. 15, down from 61,000 tons a week earlier, according to a person familiar with government statistics who asked not to be identified because the figures haven’t been published.

In London, cocoa for March added 1.1 percent to 2,308 pounds ($3,519) a ton on ICE Futures Europe. The price earlier touched 2,311 pounds, the highest since March 2011.

In other markets, arabica coffee for the same delivery month rose 0.3 percent to $1.227 a pound in New York. The January contract for robusta coffee in London added 0.2 percent to $1,567 a ton.

March raw sugar gained 0.5 percent to 15.03 cents a pound in New York. White sugar for the same delivery month rose 0.5 percent to $404.30 a ton in London.

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