Cocoa Falls As Bears Look to Surplus Crops
By Julie Wernau
Cocoa futures fell sharply Thursday in what traders say is likely to be a range-bound battle between bulls and bears for an extended period of time.
Cocoa for December lost 3.3% to settle at $2,052 a ton on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, the lowest level since Oct. 16.
Bearish traders point to large stocks of cocoa from this year's bumper crop and the bulls are looking ahead to the dry season in West Africa, which can bring damaging winds to crops in the coming year.
Commerzbank said production estimates for the first quarter of 2018 in west Africa, the largest growing region, are coming in lower as a result of an outbreak of brown rot and black pod disease from farmers struggling with low prices who didn't apply fertilizers and pesticides properly.
The 2016/2017 crop year ended with a record 2 million ton crop in Ivory Coast, the largest grower, dragging down prices.
In other markets, raw sugar for March lost 2.6% at 14.23 cents a pound, arabica coffee for December rose 2.8% to $1.264 a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice for January rose 1.9% to $1.549 a pound and December cotton was up 1.3% at 69.08 cents a pound.
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