The London futures price for cocoa fell from £1,994 per tonne on 14 April to £1,937 on 18 April, following an announcement that port activity will restart. This had been frozen since January, after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down following an election in November; he was arrested on 11 April. Last week, Patrick Achi, spokesperson for president Alassane Ouattara, said: "We expect the first boats to arrive from next week, with exports proceeding normally."
However, TPL said some cocoa traders have warned the country could struggle to return to normal. In total, 500,000 tonnes of cocoa is believed to be sitting in storage at ports in Abidjan and San Pedro, but there are question marks over its quality.
Martin Turton, manager of the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery group, said while it welcomed the announcement, cocoa prices were affected by a complex set of factors: "Cocoa prices were already increasing due to growing global demand and declining yields, caused by a lack of investment in new cocoa trees." This had been exacerbated by adverse weather hitting the older, weaker trees, he said.