Tight supplies boost Ivorian cocoa prices

ABIDJAN Jan 11 (Reuters) – Farmgate cocoa prices in Ivory Coast‘s main growing regions rose slightly last week as local grinders scooped up beans from plantations fearing a shortage of supply, farmers and buyers said on Wednesday.

Cocoa arrivals slowed sharply last week as dry, windy weather started hitting output from farms, reinforcing predictions the West African country’s main crop will fall far short of last year’s record season.

At the Abidjan port, exporters were buying cocoa at 720 CFA francs ($1.40) per kg, while grinders were buying at 730 CFA francs per kg, compared with an average price of 715 CFA francs per kg the previous week, said a purchase manager at an international export firm in Abidjan.

“We realised that there are not enough cocoa beans. Buyers are aggressive on price so as to be able to get more beans. We are worried by the small amount of cocoa we see coming from the farms,” the manager said, asking not to be named.

In the western region of Soubre, in the heart of the Ivorian cocoa belt, farmers said the average price rose to 650 CFA francs per kg from 625 CFA the previous week on strong competition among buyers.

“Demand was very strong. Buyers from local grinders increased prices,” said farmer Lazare Ake.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, producing a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output, farmers said the average farmgate price was between 575 CFA and 625 CFA francs per kg, from between 550 CFA and 600 CFA the previous week, as supply was below demand in the area.

“Many people want to buy, but there is not enough cocoa,” said farmer Marcel Aka, who farms near Daloa.

In the southern region of Aboisso, farmers said the average price was 625 CFA to 650 CFA per kg from about 600 CFA the previous week.

($1 = 513.3490 CFA francs) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Bate Felix, editing by Jane Baird)

© Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved

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