North America 1Q Cocoa Grinding Seen Higher on Chocolate Demand

Cocoa processing in North America probably rose 1.8 percent in the first quarter as chocolate demand increased, a survey showed.

Grindings were forecast at 128,138 metric tons, up from 125,887 tons a year earlier, according to the average of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. That would mark the sixth straight gain in data from the National Confectioners Association. The group will release first-quarter figures at 4 p.m. on April 17 in Washington.

“The pattern for demand has been the same in the past year, and we expect the first-quarter grind figure to show a modest increase” Joe Mallaney, the managing director of soft commodities at Newedge USA LLC, said in a telephone interview.

Through April 11, cocoa futures climbed 34 percent in the past 12 months in New York.

Grindings in Europe, the top consuming region, rose 0.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, another industry group said last week.

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