Analysts are playing down fears that there could be a cocoa shortage following the political unrest in the Ivory Coast.
The price of cocoa hit a new one-year high after the president-elect of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, announced an export ban – up 14% since Christmas – but it dropped back to £2,098/tonne this week.
Despite all the ongoing political upheaval, Ivory Coast-produced cocoa is still getting to market – exiting via Ghana, said VM Group. It added: “Cocoa prices remain a long way off their all-time peak of $5,335 (£3,310)/tonne in July 1977. If grindings recover strongly throughout 2011, and the supply response lags – as is likely – then a similar spike is not inconceivable later this year or early next year.”
Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst at Euromonitor International, added that there had not been an impact on deliveries so far. “Traders are betting on lower prices this year, but if something happens to stop exports, that will have an impact. There’s concern that the situation might get worse.”
Bako reported that UK cocoa suppliers were attempting to ship as much cocoa as possible to the ports, in case the situation worsened. Purchasing manager Eifion Owen said: “If there’s going to be a supply problem, it will become apparent in a few weeks’ time if the boats cannot leave port.”