Ghana on 19 August, 2011 signed the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, the United Nations Treaty Section has confirmed.

Ghana - official notification of signature to the Agreement from the United Nations

26 August 2011–The International Cocoa Organization today releases its revised forecasts for the current 2010/2011 cocoa year and revised estimates for 2009/2010 of world production, grindings and stocks of cocoa beans, summarized below.

The data published in Issue No. 3 – Volume XXXVII – Cocoa year 2010/2011 of the Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, reflect the most recent information available to the Secretariat as at the end of July 2011.

Cocoa year (Oct-Sep) 2006/2007 2007/08 Year-on-year change
 Previous estimates a/  Revised estimates  Forecasts
(thousand tonnes)  (Per cent)
World production 3 632 4 025  4 195 + 563 + 15.5%
World grindings  3 698 3 798 3 828 + 130 + 3.5%
Surplus/deficit b/  – 102 + 187 + 325
End-of-season stocks 1 606 1 816 1 931 + 325 + 20.2%
Stocks/Grindings ratio  43.4% 47.8% 50.4%

Notes:
a/   Forecasts published in Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, Vol. XXXVII – No. 2 – Cocoa year 2010/2011
b/   Surplus/deficit: net world crop (gross crop adjusted for loss in weight) minus grindings
Totals and differences may differ due to rounding.

This issue of the Bulletin contains the Secretariat’s revised forecasts for the 2010/2011 cocoa year as well as data for the past four years of production and grindings of cocoa beans, detailed by country.  The main features of the global cocoa market are illustrated in colour charts.  In addition, the Bulletin includes comments on crop and demand prospects in the leading countries for the current season, and a review of price developments on international markets for cocoa beans during the April-June quarter of 2011.

Statistical information on trade in cocoa beans, cocoa products and chocolate, by country and by region, published in this edition, covers annual data from 2007/2008 to 2009/2010 and quarterly statistics for the period April-June 2009 to October-December 2010.  Details of origin of imports and destination of exports for leading cocoa importing countries are also provided.  Historical statistics on cocoa trade and consumption, by country and by region, for the period 2001/2002 to 2009/2010 are presented for reference.

Copies of the Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, including Microsoft Excel files and Adobe PDF format can be ordered from the ICCO Secretariat at the address below:

International Cocoa Organization
Commonwealth House
1-19 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1NU
Tel:+44 (0)20 7400 5050
Fax:+44 (0)20 7421 5500
E-mail: statistics@icco.org or assoc.statistics@icco.org

Costa Rica on 6 July, 2011 signed the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, the United Nations Treaty Section has confirmed.

Click here to see the official notification of signature to the Agreement from the United Nations.

A range of uncoordinated projects aimed at stimulating output in producing countries could exacerbate the damaging “boom and bust” cycle in the world’s cocoa economy, according to an International Cocoa Organization presentation on 7 July.

Speaking at the Fifth Indonesian International Cocoa Conference in Bali, Executive Director a.i. Dr. Jean-Marc Anga said that the ICCO was alarmed that major production programmes backed by both the chocolate industry and producing country governments could make the cocoa market even more volatile and lead to a collapse in prices if unchecked.

The ICCO has identified over 60 ongoing projects worldwide aimed primarily at improving production levels, in response to a general industry concern that demand is outstripping supply and that cocoa supply is moving into a period of structural deficit.  Cocoa prices have almost doubled in the past five years, from about US$1,540 in 2005 to US$3,135 in 2010.  In response to this, the cocoa and chocolate industry and most of the major cocoa producing nations have planned significant increases in their production.

Regarding the projects, “There are a few common denominators that we, in ICCO, find deeply troubling, Dr. Anga said. “They are all aiming predominantly at increasing cocoa production, they are uncoordinated and nobody seems to worry about their impact on cocoa prices in a few years.”

As a result of these uncoordinated projects and of the producing countries’ production policies, he added, world production (now at about 4 million tonnes) could reach 5 or even 6 million tonnes, flooding the market and causing another price collapse.

Dr. Anga pointed to the damaging periods of boom and bust in the past as an example: in July 1977 cocoa prices reached a record high of $4,722 per tonne in nominal terms (or close to $15,000 in real terms), while in November 2000, the market slumped to just $774 per tonne (or $960 in real terms).

He added that because the price of cocoa represents only 10% of the cost of a chocolate bar, the ICCO believes that even if market prices were to double from their current level of about $3,000 per tonne, there would be a limited impact on final consumption, while producers stood to make significant gains that would help improve their living standards.

“Our problem in the next few years is not the threat to cocoa supply per se,” Dr. Anga said. “Our biggest problem is the lack of coordination, which feeds price volatility and the uncertainty that it creates, leading to peaks followed by collapses in cocoa prices. This is what we must avoid at all costs.”

Dr. Anga proposed a coordinated strategy between the producing countries and the chocolate industry, for the raft of projects in cocoa producing countries.  He concluded by advocating an ICCO-led global cocoa summit in mid-June 2012 on the future of the world cocoa economy, to be attended by governments from cocoa producing and cocoa consuming countries, the cocoa and chocolate industry, donors, international development and aid agencies, the civil society and other stakeholders.  The summit would agree on a global cocoa roadmap and pledge the resources to implement it.

The ICCO’s Seminar on Cocoa Terminal Markets in mid-June brought representatives of a number of ICCO member governments up to date with the latest developments on the commodity futures markets.

The Seminar, which took place at the ICCO’s London headquarters from 13 to 16 June, briefed policy makers and their advisors on the important role that the terminal markets play in the world cocoa economy, by shifting price risk through hedging, by providing information for storage decisions and by acting as centres for the collection and dissemination of price information.

The Seminar took place against the background of events in July 2010, when London’s NYSE Liffe cocoa futures market was the subject of much press interest, due to a large position taken by a single market player. The incident raised concerns about the transparency, integrity and efficiency of terminal markets, and led to calls for stronger regulation of that market by the European and UK financial authorities.

In order to assist delegates to understand these market developments, the Seminar reviewed the various types of contractual arrangements used to trade cocoa, looking in-depth at futures contracts and their trading, before examining the competitive structure of the markets themselves, the role of brokers and other professionals in the markets.

ICCO Executive Director a.i., Dr Jean-Marc Anga, welcomed about 40 participants to the Seminar, which was conducted by the ICCO’s Econometrician Dr Michele Nardella and Economics and Statistics Director a.i. Laurent Pipitone. It also included presentations by speakers from both of the world’s major cocoa exchanges–Ian Dudden, Director of Commodity Derivatives at NYSE Liffe, as well as Thomas Farley, President and Chief Operating Officer of New York’s ICE Futures US—each of whom provided an insight into the functioning of their respective futures markets.

The Seminar also addressed the way fundamental factors affect futures prices, and taught delegates the importance of basis prices, spreads between different delivery months, and their connections with expected spot prices and storage costs, in order to illuminate the way the futures markets work.

The practicalities of using the futures markets, and of employing various hedging strategies to mitigate the impact of any decline in cocoa prices, comprised another section of the Seminar. Also included were a series of practical case studies, suggesting strategies for grower co-operatives, exporters and traders.

The Seminar concluded with a guided visit for the participants to the NYSE Liffe cocoa grading room in London, where they were hosted by Robin Dand, Lee Watson and Barry Readings of the Exchange.

Each participant was presented with a certificate at the conclusion of the four-day Seminar, and the positive reactions to the presentations were such that the Secretariat is seriously considering repeating the Seminar in the near future.

The Executive Director a.i., Dr Jean-Marc Anga, has announced that the European Union has joined the International Cocoa Agreement 2010.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting as depositary for the Agreement, noted that the EU had signed the Agreement on 10 June, 2011.

Please click here to see the Depositary Notification from the United Nations.

An International Cocoa Organization Workshop that began on 7 June in Cameroon marked the launch of a major programme to help African cocoa producers maintain their market access in the face of stringent pesticide residue legislation.

Pesticide residue regulations published by the European Union, the USA and Japan could affect the cocoa trade and deprive millions of smallholder farmers and their governments of the much needed revenues required for poverty alleviation programmes. These Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, relating to pesticide residues and other harmful substances, have to be met by imported cocoa.

The Workshop–which took place 7 – 10 June in Yaoundé, Cameroon–was the first stage in the ICCO project ‘SPS Capacity Building in Africa to Mitigate the Harmful Effects of Pesticide Residues in Cocoa and to Maintain Market Access’. It brought together government agencies responsible for the cocoa sector, national food safety organizations, institutions responsible for the registration and use of pesticides, farmers, cocoa associations and important members of the cocoa trade and industry.

In partnership with the Standards and Trade Development Facility, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, CropLife International, and COLEACP/EDES, the ICCO project aims to assist cocoa producing countries to strengthen their expertise and capacity to implement international SPS standards, thus improving their ability to gain or maintain market access for their cocoa beans.

The project will involve five major African cocoa producing countries—Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo—each of which will be represented and make presentations at the Workshop.

As African cocoa producers account for 75% of world cocoa exports, it is crucial to help them understand and respond to the international SPS standards. An important part of the approach is assisting farmers and other cocoa supply chain stakeholders to adopt good agricultural and warehousing practices.

For more information, please click here to visit the dedicated new section of the ICCO website: www.icco.org/sites/sps

The Technical paper ‘Collaborative and Participatory Approaches to Cocoa Variety Improvement’ is now available for download from this site.

This Technical Paper is a compilation of studies and experiments conducted in the framework of the CFC/ICCO/26 project on “Cocoa Productivity and Quality Improvement: a Participatory Approach” (2004-2010).

The main objective of the project is to improve the welfare of smallholder cocoa farmers through higher and more sustainable productivity levels of good quality cocoa at lower production costs.

Please click here to go to the Project page and click on ‘CFC Technical paper 59’ to download the paper.

Dr. Jean-Marc Anga, Executive Director a.i., previewed the statistics in the upcoming Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics during an interview on the state of the cocoa market with Bloomberg News on 25 May.

Please click here to download the full report of the interview from Bloomberg News.

Dr Anga reviews the effects of the recent Ivorian crisis on the cocoa market, and the huge potential growth in Chinese consumption, in his recent interview in The Public Ledger.

Click here to download a PDF of the interview in The Public Ledger, 29 April 2011.