London, 25 January 2018–The ICCO Expert Working Group on Stocks (EWGS) met at the London offices of ICE Futures Europe to review the level of world cocoa bean stocks. The EWGS is composed of experts in the cocoa field who meet once a year, at the invitation of the ICCO, to review and analyse the results of the ICCO’s annual survey of cocoa stocks held in warehouses worldwide. The survey has been conducted every year since 2000 and aims to improve transparency in the cocoa market.
The ICCO survey of European warehouse stocks showed a stock draw of 51,238 tonnes. Published data from North America showed a stock build of 106,000 tonnes. The Working Group, taking account of the level of world cocoa bean stocks identified by the ICCO survey and additional market information, estimated that world cocoa bean stocks increased by 144,000 tonnes compared to the previous year. This result reflects a cocoa supply surplus smaller than the one published by the ICCO in its latest Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics (QBCS) in November 2017, estimated at 335,000 tonnes for the 2016/2017 season.
The review conducted by the EWGS during its meeting led to the conclusion that the survey results have probably underestimated the increase of existing world stocks during that year, due to the expansion of “invisible” stocks – i.e. stocks held in locations not reporting to the ICCO survey. The most significant area of “invisible” stocks was identified as Asia. The Secretariat agreed to approach the Cocoa Association of Asia in order to increase transparency of stock levels in the region.
The ICCO Secretariat maintains its supply surplus estimate of 335,000 tonnes for 2016/2017 as published in its latest QBCS.