Cocoa: Supply and Demand Drivers

Cocoa is known globally as the primary ingredient for chocolate production. The cacao tree produces fruit pods which are harvested and opened to collect the cocoa bean. The beans are then further processed into cocoa powder or cocoa butter, both of which are used in the production of chocolate and other confectionary items. Cocoa occupies a unique place in the agricultural commodity world due to its high value and relatively small production volume.

1) Key Trading Parameters:

Exchange Traded: Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), ICE Futures US

Price Quote: US dollars per metric ton

Futures Contact size: 10 metric tons

Contract Months: March, May, Jul, Sep, Dec

Settlement: Physical Delivery

Exchange Traded: Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), ICE Europe

Price Quote: British pounds per metric ton

Futures Contract size: 10 metric tons

Contract Months: March, May, July, Sep, Dec

Settlement: Physical Delivery

2) Market Drivers:

  1. Global Supply and Demand Dynamics: Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are the two leading producers of cocoa. The balance of production comes from other African nations, Brazil, Ecuador, and Central America and Indonesia. At roughly 5 million metric tons, cocoa production is small in comparison to other widely traded commodities.
  2. Diverse Trade: Harvesting and primary processing of cacao is typically done at origin while bean processing is concentrated in Europe and the US. Cocoa products are shipped internationally to supply both domestic and global chocolate and confection brand sales.
  3. Labor practices: Cocoa is dependent on manual labor for harvesting and primary processing with much of the activity occurring on a small scale. Additionally, the major producing regions are areas with limited economic development and opportunity. As such, the industry has been a focus area for humanitarian groups seeking to prevent the use of child labor and improve overall labor conditions. The issue remains an active one for both NGOs and industry participants.
  4. Sustainability Issues: As with other tropical commodities, efforts are being made to implement and document sustainable agronomic practices. The diverse and fragmented supply chain between grower and consumer has to some extent limited the impact and visibility of these efforts, though the percentage of certified sustainable production is increasing.

3) Latest News and Analysis on Cocoa

Ghana Delays Cocoa Deliveries, Exacerbating Global Chocolate Supply Crisis

Ghana, the world's second-largest cocoa producer, is facing a deepening supply crisis and is set to delay delivery of up to 350,000 tons of cocoa beans to the next season, according to a report by Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter. This decision further exacerbates the

Global Cocoa Market Faces Growing Deficit as Supply Tightens, Demand Remains Strong

The global cocoa market is facing a significant deficit, with lower production and a slowdown in processing activities at origin putting pressure on supplies, according to the latest statistics released by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). The report forecasts a larger-than-expected deficit for the 2023/24 cocoa year, driven by

EU's New Deforestation Law Threatens to Push Chocolate Prices Even Higher

A new European Union law aimed at curbing deforestation linked to cocoa production is threatening to further increase chocolate prices, already at record highs due to supply shortages and surging...

Cocoa Prices Plunge as Rally Fizzles, Liquidity Dries Up

Cocoa prices have experienced a dramatic downturn, with a nearly 29% drop over the past week, as buyers retreat from the market amidst historically high prices and dwindling liquidity, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. "After a monthslong rally in crop prices, which sent prices up

Cocoa Market in Turmoil Amid Supply Crunch: Financial Times

The global cocoa market is facing significant challenges as traders grapple with a severe shortage of cocoa beans and skyrocketing costs for securing long-term supply contracts, according to a report by the Financial Times. The report highlights the extreme volatility in cocoa prices, with recent plunges of over 25% followed

Latin American Farmers Join the Cocoa Rush, FT Reports

Cocoa farmers in Latin America are rapidly expanding their operations as prices for the key ingredient in chocolate hit record highs due to a global supply shortage, according to a report by the Financial Times. The report highlights the surge in cocoa planting in countries such as Ecuador, Brazil, Peru,
Latin American Farmers Join the Cocoa Rush, FT Reports

Cocoa Prices Soar Amidst Production Decline in Major Growing Nations

The global cocoa market is experiencing a significant surge in prices, driven by a substantial decline in production from the top two cocoa-producing countries, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. According to the International Cocoa Organization's (ICCO) latest monthly report, prices have skyrocketed by 47% in London and
Cocoa Prices Soar Amidst Production Decline in Major Growing Nations

Barry Callebaut Invests in Cocoa Farming Amid Price Surge

Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut AG launches an initiative to invest in cocoa farming as prices for the key chocolate ingredient soar, squeezing profits for confectioners. The company is piloting and developing best practices in sustainable cocoa farming in Brazil and Ecuador, it said in a statement on Thursday. The initiative

Cocoa Futures Hit Record High Amidst Processing Surge | Bloomberg

Cocoa futures hit a record-breaking $11,722 per ton on Friday, defying a global shortage and skyrocketing prices, reports Bloomberg. This surge comes despite concerns about a supply crunch. Data reveals North American chocolate processing ("grinds") rose nearly 4% in the first quarter compared to last year. Similar

Nigeria Poised to Cash In on Cocoa Price Boom | New Telegraph

Nigerian cocoa exporters are poised to reap significant benefits from a surge in cocoa prices, as reported by New Telegraph. With global production experiencing a 10.9% decline, cocoa prices have skyrocketed to $10,030/ tonne in April 2024, and Nigerian exporters are expected to reap N3.2 trillion ($2.