The European cocoa market is going through something of a quiet patch for this time of year, according to industry insiders. The first imports from the Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, have been low following political unrest and controversy surrounding the official minimum price set by the Coffee and Cocoa Bourse (BCC).
Buyers have complained that the price is too high. The minimum price is currently above the market level, which means that many traders have been unable afford to purchase the commodity.
However, things could change once new shipments start coming in the near future. Cocoa beans deteriorate quickly if they remained piled up in the bush or at ports, and farmers will therefore not be able to wait too long to sell. Chocolate made from beans with more than three per cent mould contain mouldy off-flavours.
Reuters reports that the market for cocoa powder has been more active, with interest growing as Europe enters its winter season. Cocoa butter trade has also been strong.
There has also been a 1.8 per cent rise in European grindings in the 2003 third quarter, according to the latest figures released by the European Cocoa Association. Industry experts believe that this has much to do about recovery in the German market.