Cocoa Processing in Asia Declined 11% in the First Quarter

Cocoa processing in Asia, a sign of demand for the chocolate ingredient, fell 11 percent in the first quarter, according to an industry group representing companies including Mars Inc.

So-called grindings declined to 140,062 metric tons from 157,000 tons a year earlier, figures on the website of the Cocoa Association of Asia showed today. The data included Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Processing of cocoa beans in Europe, the biggest consuming region, slid 3.9 percent to 339,377 tons in the quarter, figures released by the European Cocoa Association showed April 17. North American grindings gained 5.8 percent to 125,887 tons, the National Confectioners Association said the next day.

Grindings in Asia were “certainly lower than expected,” Jonathan Parkman, co-head of agriculture at brokerage Marex Spectron Group in London, said by e-mail today. Global processing was probably “barely changed” in the quarter, he said.

Mars Foods Malaysia is among the Asian group’s members, according to its website.

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