Cocoa Climbs to Four-Month High as Supplies Ebb; Sugar Declines

Cocoa futures rose to a four-month high on speculation that selling will slow from producers in West Africa, the main growing region, amid signs of shrinking supply. Sugar, orange juice and cotton slid.

Producing countries may have sold as much as 250,000 metric tons of cocoa in the past 10 to 15 days, according to futures and options brokerage Marex Spectron Group. From Oct. 1 through April 1, bean purchases by the industry regulator in Ghana, the world’s second-largest grower, fell 16 percent from a year earlier, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“With origins having sold a lot recently, selling pressure has been slightly removed,” Eric Sivry, head of agriculture options brokerage at Marex Spectron in London, said by e-mail today.

Cocoa futures for July delivery increased 0.7 percent to settle at $2,327 a ton at 12:02 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price climbed to $2,355, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 21.

“Smaller West Africa production would create risk that the 2012/13 crop year started in October would feature a larger deficit than currently expected” of 45,000 tons by the London-based International Cocoa Organization, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said today in a report. Ivory Coast is the biggest grower.

Most commodities posted losses amid signs of slowing growth in China, the biggest user of many raw materials from metals to energy.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery slid 0.4 percent to 17.67 cents a pound on ICE.

Orange-juice futures for delivery in July declined 1.2 percent to $1.416 a pound in New York, after touching $1.406, the lowest since April 12.

Cotton futures for July delivery dropped 1.2 percent to 85.1 cents a pound on ICE. Earlier, the fiber reached 84.85 cents, the lowest since March 1.

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