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Cocoa extends drop as West African harvest advances

Filed under: Market Report |

Cocoa fell for a third session in New York last Friday on speculation investors are selling to profit from higher prices as mostly dry weather favors harvesting in West Africa, the world’s main growing region. Sugar gained.

The crop in West Africa started “very strong,” Barry Callebaut AG, the biggest bean processor, said in an earnings call yesterday. Bean deliveries to ports in Ivory Coast, the top grower, were estimated to have gained 51 percent from the start of the season on Oct. 1 to November 3, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Relatively dry weather over the next five days will favor the harvest, MDA Weather Services said yesterday.

“Drier weather in central West Africa should make for improved harvest conditions,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a report e-mailed yesterday. Prices dropped yesterday as a “stronger dollar and willingness by funds to take profits took the most-active March contract below the $2,700 a ton level.”

Cocoa for delivery in March declined 0.3 percent to $2,684 a metric

ton by 6:11 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Futures trading volumes were 23 percent higher than the average in the past 100 days for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Cocoa for the same delivery month slid 0.5 percent to 1,704 pounds ($2,740) a ton on NYSE Liffe in London.

Futures fell 1.8 percent yesterday as the dollar rallied after the European Central Bank unexpectedly cut its main refinancing rate to a record 0.25 percent to boost growth in the 17-member currency region.

Ivorian bean deliveries were estimated at 210,000 tons from Oct. 1 to Nov. 3 from 139,000 tons a year earlier, KnowledgeCharts data showed.

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