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Cocoa Mar '19 (CCH19)

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Cocoa Futures Market News and Commentary

Cocoa Market News and Commentary

March ICE NY cocoa (CCH19) on Friday closed down -28 (-1.20%) and March ICE London cocoa (CAH19) closed down -13 (-0.77%). Cocoa prices retreated Friday on demand concerns after the National Confectioners Association reported North American Q4 cocoa processing rose +1.2% to 117,526 MT, weaker than expectations of +2.5%. The European Cocoa Association earlier reported on Wednesday that Q4 European cocoa grindings rose +1.6% y/y to 359,103 MT, below expectations of +2.0% y/y. Losses were contained after the Singapore Cocoa Association reported that Asia Q4 cocoa grindings unexpectedly rose +6.3% y/y to 208,900, stronger than expectations for a decline of -1.3% y/y. Also, Asia 2018 full-year cocoa grindings rose +7.8% y/y to 780,956 MT, the highest since data began in 2011. Mar NY cocoa dropped to a 3-week low on Tuesday and Mar London cocoa fell to a 1-month low on signs of robust cocoa production in West Africa. Monday's data from the Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa producer, showed that Ivory Coast farmers sent 1.19 MMT of cocoa to ports during Oct 1-Jan 13, up +12.2% from the same time last year. Also, data from Ghana, the world's second-biggest cocoa producer, showed strong output after the Ghana Cocoa Board reported that cocoa purchases from Ghana cocoa farmers rose +4.7% y/y to 455,663 MT during the first twelve weeks of the harvest from Oct 5-Dec 28. Crop concerns may limit losses in cocoa prices after Radiant Solutions said in a report Thursday that less soil moisture in cocoa regions of West Africa is "keeping mid-crop growth stressed." The most recent data from the U.S. Climate Prediction Center showed below-average rainfall in most of the Ivory Coast from Jan 6-12.Big Picture Cocoa Market Factors: Bullish factors for cocoa include (1) the forecast from Radiant Solutions that "mid-crop growth will be minimal" for cocoa crops as weather conditions throughout the Ivory Coast and Ghana have been overwhelmingly dry, (2) strong cocoa demand in Asia after the Singapore Cocoa Association reported that Asia Q4 cocoa grindings unexpectedly rose +6.3% y/y to 208,900, stronger than expectations for a decline of -1.3% y/y, and as Asia 2018 full-year cocoa grindings rose +7.8% y/y to 780,956 MT, the highest since data began in 2011, and (3) tighter supplies as cocoa inventories held at port warehouses monitored by ICE Futures have steadily declined over the past 7 months and are just above a 1-3/4 year low. Bearish factors for cocoa include (1) ICCO's forecast for a small global cocoa surplus of +22,000 MT in 2017/18, although that is down sharply from 2016/17's 6-year high surplus of 296,000 MT, (2) the projection from Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest cocoa processor, that global supply may match demand in 2019 amid robust global cocoa output, and (3) signs of tepid demand after the National Confectioners Association reported North American Q4 cocoa processing rose +1.2% to 117,526 MT, weaker than expectations of +2.5%, and after the European Cocoa Association reported that Q4 European cocoa grindings rose +1.6% y/y to 359,103 MT, below expectations of +2.0% y/y.
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