Cocoa Reaches Three-Week High on Crop-Delay Concern; Sugar Slips

Cocoa rose to a three-week high in London on speculation the next harvest will be delayed in West Africa, the world’s main growing region. Sugar slipped.

It’s dry in eastern Ivory Coast, the largest producer, and more rain is needed in second-ranking Ghana, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Current crop conditions may signal a later start to the main harvest, according to London-based brokerage Marex Spectron Group. The season in West African nations usually begins in October.

“Some dryness has developed across east-central portions of Ivory Coast, which may stress development of the main cocoa crop,” Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist at MDA, said in a report e-mailed yesterday. “Some dryness is also a concern across west-central portions of Ghana.”

Cocoa for delivery in September advanced 2.3 percent to 1,532 pounds ($2,309) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London, the highest settlement since June 12. Trading of cocoa, raw sugar and arabica coffee on ICE Futures U.S. in New York was closed today because of Independence Day.

Ivory Coast’s central-western Daloa region, which produces about 300,000 tons a year, was dry from June 21-30, data from the National Meteorological Service showed. It usually gets 42 millimeters (1.7 inches) of rain at this time of year, long-term averages show. The eastern town of Bondoukou got 10.8 millimeters, below the long-term average of 39 millimeters.

Less Rain

In Ghana, the western region, which accounts for 55 percent of national output, got less rain than last year. Rain in the towns of Sefwi Bekwai, Bogoso and Echi was 102.9 millimeters in June 11-20, data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency showed. Last year, rainfall was 343.6 millimeters.

Barry Callebaut AG, the biggest maker of bulk chocolate, said sales gained 8.2 percent by volume in the nine months through May, citing demand from emerging markets.

“It seems that prices recently benefited from solid demand figures, as shown by Barry Callebaut’s earnings,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “Technicals are also favorable.”

Robusta coffee for delivery in September rose 0.6 percent to $1,820 a ton in London. Refined, or white, sugar for delivery in October slipped 0.3 percent to $475.10 a ton.

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