North America 4Q Cocoa Grinding Seen Higher as Economy Recovers

Cocoa processing in North America probably increased 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter as an improving economy spurred holiday demand, a survey showed.

In the three months ended Dec. 31, grinding may have risen to 125,011 metric tons from 120,053 a year earlier, according to the average of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Halloween, celebrated on Oct. 31, leads Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Day among the year’s top holidays for chocolate buying, according to the Washington-based National Confectioners Association.

Consumer spending rose in November by the most in five months, giving the U.S. economy a boost at the end of 2013, according to a report last month from the Commerce Department. The Federal Reserve took the first steps toward exiting its stimulus program last month amid signs of progress on jobs, manufacturing and housing.

“In general, we’ve been recovering from a slow period the previous year, and I don’t see that changing,” Joe Mallaney, the managing director of soft commodities at Newedge USA LLC in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The fourth quarter is typically a busy period.”

The NCA will release the official data on Jan. 16 at 4 p.m. in Washington.

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