The trade body announced last week that fourth quarter (Q4) grindings were up 6% to 342,442 metric tons (MT), while it found the full-year 2015 grind grew 2% to 1.32m MT.
The figures were compiled from 21 companies in the EU and Switzerland including Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Mondelēz, Nestlé and Ferrero.
It came as the world’s largest cocoa grinder Barry Callebaut reported a 3.9% rise in sales volumes in its Region Europe to 763,646 MT in its full-year 2015 results.
However, other processors experienced drops as volume sales in the European chocolate confectionery market fell 3.5% between September 2014 and August 2015, according to Nielsen.
Price forecast for 2016
In Rabobank’s 2016 outlook report, published in late November, it forecast cocoa prices will fall each quarter up until Q4 this year.
New York cocoa futures were on average around $2,200 per MT in the second half of 2015, but are expected to come down to $2,850 per MT by Q2 this year and to $2,700 by the end of the year, it reports.
Rabobank says cocoa demand will remain “obscure” as the European and North America cocoa grinds no longer reflect demand since processing capacity has been shifting in origin to West Africa,
Deficit for 2015/16 season
Rabobank expects a cocoa deficit of 150,000 MT in 2015/16 driven by dry weather in West Africa and Indonesia. It follows an 85,000 MT deficit in the 2014/15 season.
However, the bank does anticipate a 93,000 MT surplus for 2016/17 due to political stability in West Africa and a high internal price for cocoa in Côte D’Ivoire that will incentivize growers.
North American cocoa grind figures are due for release on Thursday this week.