Commodities: cocoa prices reach all-time highs
Cost Transport | delivery | logistics | production | SupplyChain
Par Ibrahima DIALLO
13 February 2024 / 15:04

Cocoa prices continued their meteoric rise, reaching all-time highs in London and now in New York too, driven by a strong supply deficit due to difficulties in the main producing regions.

In New York on February 9, cocoa surpassed $6,000 a tonne on its contract for March delivery, peaking at $6,030 and shattering its previous all-time record of $5,379 a tonne set in 1977. This is the highest price recorded in data compiled by the Bloomberg agency since 1959, i.e. 65 years ago. On its contract for May delivery in New York, currently the most active, prices were also at an all-time high.

In London, the price of cocoa, already at a record high, also set a new all-time record, peaking on Friday at £4,786 per tonne.

A shortfall in cocoa supply

"The continued rise has been fueled by [fears] of a worse-than-expected deficit for the 2023-24 crop year," explains Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen, which would make it the third season in a row with a supply deficit.

West Africa, the world's top producing region along with Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, is experiencing unfavorable weather conditions, with "intense and damaging dry winds, possibly linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon", while "pests and diseases" have also decimated crops, "as farmers struggle to access expensive pesticides and fertilizers", continues the analyst.

Soaring prices

Since the beginning of the year, the price of cocoa has soared by around 30% in both London and New York, continuing a price surge that began in 2023.

"While it's unlikely that this spike in cocoa prices will be felt this year by consumers" of chocolate, says Hansen, "the consequences will be felt later this year and next, as cocoa costs typically take 6-12 months to reach consumers."

At 16:15 GMT on February 9 in London, a tonne of cocoa for delivery in May was worth £4,590, compared with £3,973 at the end of trading on February 2. In New York, a tonne for delivery in the same month was worth $5,555, compared with $4,925 a week earlier.

L’Antenne, avec l’AFP

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