World’s Top Cocoa Grower Raises Output Estimate

(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, had sold 1.4 million metric tons of beans from its 2018-19 main crop by the middle of July, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cocoa regulator Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao is targeting to auction at least another 100,000 tons before the new season starts Oct. 1, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The regulator raised its forecast for the bigger of the two annual harvests to as much as 1.6 million tons because of favorable growing conditions, from a previous estimate of 1.5 million tons, said the person.

Farmers sent 1.45 million tons of beans to ports during the six-month main harvest that ended in March and 1.5 million tons the year before when the country produced more than two million tons for the first time during the annual season through September 2017, according to government data obtained by Bloomberg.

Smaller Surplus

Mariam Dagnogo, a spokeswoman for the regulator, declined to comment when contacted by phone.

Ivory Coast is selling more beans as cocoa futures traded in London surged 22 percent this year, partly as a global surplus turned out to be smaller than expected. The West African nation is also avoiding a repeat of late sales which exacerbated pressure on prices in 2016 and 2017 when futures tumbled almost 40 percent.

Cocoa for delivery in December dropped as much as 0.7 percent and was trading 0.5 percent lower at 1,674 pounds ($2,205) at 2:42 p.m. in London on Wednesday, heading for the lowest close since June 6.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.