North America Third-Quarter Cocoa Grind Seen Climbing in Survey

North America’s cocoa grind, a measure of demand, may have risen 5.1 percent in the third quarter as chocolate makers buy the raw material to rebuild inventories, a survey showed.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, processing probably rose to 128,071 metric tons from 121,890 a year earlier, according to the average of 10 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Spot prices for cocoa butter, a byproduct of the commodity used in chocolate bars, rose to a five-year high of $7,904 a metric ton on Sept. 27. Bean stockpiles at facilities monitored by ICE Futures U.S. have fallen to the lowest since February, exchange data show.

“This tells me that demand has been strong and that buyers are willing to pay up,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “When demand picks up in the cash market, you typically see some tightening of warehouse inventory.”

The National Confectioners Association will release the data at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17 in Washington. West Africa accounts for about 70 percent of world production, and Ivory Coast and Ghana are the biggest growers.

Cocoa prices in New York surged 22 percent this year through yesterday. In the 12 months started Oct. 1, world production may trail demand by 173,000 tons, followed by a shortage of 113,000 the following season, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

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