The Nordic region's leading confectionery maker, Cloetta Fazer, says it expects the price of cocoa beans - a key raw material for many of its products - to remain stable for the rest of this year.
"The price is now quite stable. We see very few factors out there that could affect the price," Cloetta Fazer's managing director Karsten Slotte told a Reuters reporter.
During the summer the price of cocoa has fluctuated greatly, jeopardising the already competitive pricing that the sector is built on. After hitting an all time high of £1,620-per-tonne (€2,326) in December 2002, the price has steadily fallen until this summer, when prices started to rebound.
This followed crop failures and political unrest in the Ivory Coast, one of the world's leading cocoa growing regions. However the global harvest for cocoa for the rest of this year has generally been good and the situation in the Ivory Coast has become much more stable.
As a consequence the company said it saw the price of cocoa beans in a £950-1,050 per-tonne range for the rest of 2003, adding that supply and demand appeared to be more or less in balance.
"The harvest has been good this year," he told reporters, speaking on the sidelines of a briefing on Cloetta Fazer's third quarter results.
Currently Cloetta Fazer is the Nordic region's second biggest buyer of semi-finished products made of cocoa beans, such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter. The company's purchases from suppliers in Germany and the Netherlands are worth about €38.6 million per year.
The prediction of future stability for cocoa prices will come as good news to the company following a disappointing set of financial results reported by ConfectioneryNews.com yesterday. The company said that sales in the all-important Swedish market had been particularly due to hot weather.