Cocoa Prices Surge on Poor Crop, Limited West Africa Sales
Comment of the Day

August 30 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Cocoa Prices Surge on Poor Crop, Limited West Africa Sales

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here it is in full:

Cocoa futures rallied in New York and London amid signs of weak forward sales from producing countries in West Africa that have been slammed by deteriorating crops. 

Even as heavy rains that wrought havoc on cocoa farms across West Africa have finally subsided, crop development continues to be very poor. Reports of swollen-shoot disease in top grower Ivory Coast and a shortage of fertilizers in the second-largest producer, Ghana, are among key concerns.

“Trees have not recovered as expected,” said Marex co-head of agriculture Jonathan​ Parkman, noting more research is needed to understand why the trees haven’t recovered better after the end of the rains.

Forward sales are also getting hit by confusion over new European deforestation regulations, Parkman said. Some sellers are afraid of getting hit with penalties if they can’t prove their beans come from a deforestation-free area. 

Eoin Treacy's view

Europe’s efforts to enforce its climate doctrine on other countries are inevitably going to have unintended consequences. That’s particularly true for agriculture producers where producers don’t have the resources to produce according to extraterritorial rules. The commonality across crops where these kinds of rules are threatening to be enforced suggests cocoa is not an isolated incident.
Cocoa prices are breaking higher to recovery highs and trend remains consistent.
Rubber prices are firming from the ¥200 level which is the lower side of a three-year first step above the  underlying two-year base.
Palm Oil prices  are currently firming from above the 12-year base formation.

All of these are dependent on tropical climates and have been associated with deforestation at one time or another. All are susceptible to pressure from rules made in Europe that ignore the economics of production.
Elsewhere Western Canada drought conditions have finally had an effect on oats prices. I’m kicking myself that I lost patience with my position ahead of the breakout last week.  
Rough rice is also extending its breakout as India implements a ban on exports of anything other than the Basmati variety.
Orange Juice closed limit up today following a low stockpile report from Brazil.

Wheat, soybeans, and corn tend to be what the media focus on but these above commodities are essential to the lives of billions of people and higher prices will contribute to stickier inflationary pressures.

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