Ivory Coast Said to Sell More Cocoa as Crop Beats Estimates

(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast sold an additional 200,000 metric tons of cocoa from the current crop after arrivals from the harvest’s first two months exceeded the period’s pre-allocated deals by more than a third, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, the industry’s regulator, disposed of the extra volumes through direct sales after farmers produced more than the 450,000 tons that were auctioned prior to the season’s beginning at the start of October, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The additional sales didn’t cover any default contracts, which will be tallied and reviewed by the middle of December, said the people.

Cocoa for March delivery slid 2.9 percent in New York to $2,126 a ton, the biggest drop in three weeks for a most-active contract.

Producers in the world’s top cocoa grower sent an estimated 676,509 tons of cocoa to ports from Oct. 1 to Dec. 2, compared with about 504,000 tons a year earlier, according to a person familiar with government data. The recent sales lifted Ivory Coast’s obligations for the bigger of the two annual harvests, which ends in March, to 1.7 million tons from 1.5 million tons, said the people.

A spokeswoman for the regulator didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

While the cocoa harvest in West Africa got off to a record start, farmers’ fortunes will depend on the intensity of the looming Harmattan, desert winds in the Sahara that usually bring dryness to growing regions from December to February. Weather forecasters have also warned of the risk of an El Nino formation, which may affect the pace of deliveries for the rest of the season.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.