Photographer: Jose Cendon/Bloomberg

Ivory Coast to Double Cocoa-Auction Charges to Curb Speculation

  • Deposit needed to buy beans raised to 5% of fixed export price
  • Companies without local presence to get higher bean allocation

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, will double the deposit needed to buy beans for delivery next season as part of measures to curb speculation in the chocolate ingredient, people familiar with the situation said.

The industry body, known as Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, will raise the deposit to 5 percent of the fixed export price, according two people familiar with matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t allowed to speak to the media. It will also increase to at least 400,000 metric tons the amount of beans auctioned to international companies that don’t have a presence in the West African nation. That’s up from about 220,000 to 250,000 tons now.

Beans bought under such contracts will be shipped by local exporters appointed by the regulator and who are members of the International Traders’ Association known by its French acronym GNI, the national union of cocoa-export cooperatives known as UNACOOPEXCI and the cocoa economic-interest group known as GIE, the people said.

Cocoa has dropped 28 percent this year in New York to the lowest in more than three years. In London, it’s declined to the lowest since May 2014 partly as funds pulled out of the market in expectation of increased output in West Africa, which accounts for about 70 percent of global production.

Ivory Coast wants to prevent smaller exporters from buying beans directly through the auction system, the people said, without providing more information.

Mariam Coulibaly Dagnogo, head of communications at the CCC, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.