Cocoa Fluctuates as Ivory Coast Permits Export of Some Beans

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Cocoa fluctuated in New York as Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, said it will permit exports of beans that have been registered for shipment.

A one-month export ban announced by Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of a Nov. 28 presidential election, applies only to beans “that have not yet been the object of tax payments,” Patrick Achi, spokesman for Ouattara’s government, said yesterday. The suspension is intended to cut off funds to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to step down.

“It’s toward the end of the main crop, and the majority of the beans has already been registered for export,” said Gary Mead, an analyst at VM Group in London. “If the ban persists, then we will have a problem.”

Cocoa for March delivery added $13, or 0.4 percent, to $3,325 a metric ton at 8:06 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The contract climbed as much as 0.6 percent and slid as much as 1.3 percent. In London, cocoa for March delivery rose 1.3 percent to 2,218 pounds ($3,498) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

“Overall global production prospects look very good, with the main upside to prices in the market stemming from the Ivory Coast political situation,” Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, an analyst with Barclays Capital, said in a report today.

Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate, said it had bought and exported most of the cocoa beans required for “production and current needs.” Mars Inc. said the ban would have no “short term” effect on its ability to make chocolate.

Assets Frozen

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. “remains committed” to cocoa farming and was “carefully assessing the situation” in Ivory Coast and any effect of European Union sanctions on its activities, spokesman Roman Blahoski said by e-mail yesterday. Cargill Inc. said it temporarily suspended cocoa-bean purchases in Ivory Coast.

The EU said Jan. 14 it had frozen the assets of Ivory Coast’s cocoa- and coffee-exporting ports, along with other assets that were “helping to fund the illegitimate government of Laurent Gbagbo.”

Raw sugar for March delivery lost 1.8 percent to 31.72 cents a pound in New York. White, or refined, sugar for March delivery slid 2.2 percent to $779 a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Arabica coffee for March delivery declined 1 percent to $2.3485 a pound in New York. Robusta coffee for March delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $2,090 a ton in London.

(Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-25/cocoa-fluctuates-as-ivory-coast-permits-some-bean-exports-sugar-declines.html)

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