Leading maker of bulk chocolate, Barry Callebaut, has bought and exported the cocoa beans it needs to fulfill its processing needs, said a company spokesperson in reaction to the suspension of Ivory Coast exports.
Raphael Wermuth external communications manager at Barry Callebaut told ConfectioneryNews.com that the company’s two factories in Abidjan and San Pedro are still running. “For the time being our stock levels are sufficient,” he said “they can cover our current needs.”
Wermuth said the company was observing the situation in the Ivory Coast on a daily basis.
US ingredients supplier Cargill, which normally buys around 15 per cent of Ivory Coast’s crop, has reportedly halted its cocoa purchases from the region temporarily.
Rise in prices
Cocoa prices rose 6.2 per cent to $3,393 Monday morning, almost their highest since January 2010, as Alassane Ouattara, the president-elect of the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, called a halt to all exports including cocoa and coffee for a month.
The move by Ouattara is an attempt to cut off funding from his rival Gbagbo who is currently refusing to leave office despite Ouattara being widely accepted as Ivory Coast's legitimate leader.
In December, Rabobank warned that cocoa prices would respond if there was a return to civil war in the African producer company.
Cocoa prices to ease
But, according to recent reports, cocoa prices are to ease as dealers say the majority of the region’s main crop has been exported.
Gary Mead, an analyst at VM Group in London said it was toward the end of the main crop, and the majority of the beans have already been registered for export, Bloomberg reported.
“If the ban persists, then we will have a problem,” he said.
Ivory Coast said it will permit exports of beans that have been registered for shipment, say reports.
The European Cocoa Association (ECA) and the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) raised concerns last week that the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro together with the Coffee-Cocoa Sector Management Committee (CGFCC) have been included within the organisations on the EU sanctions list.
The ECA and FCC asked the Commission to clarify how cocoa shipments can be put through without the standard export tax-based payments to these bodies.
The request was part of a joint communiqué that was sent by the ECA and FCC to the Commission requesting more information about the regulation in order to gain greater understanding of how the sanctions would impact the cocoa supply chain.
Trade bodies press EU on Ivory Coast ban
Lack of clarity on the implications for the cocoa industry of the financial penalties imposed by the EU on the Ivory Coast has prompted trade representatives in the bloc to seek such additional information from the Commission.
The EU has tightened its economic sanctions against the West African cocoa producing country in a move to try and unseat Gbagbo.
EU Council Regulation 25/2011, which entered into force on 15 January 2011, is targeted at individuals and organisations in the Ivory Coast said to be jeopardising the proper outcome of the electoral process.