Poor Ghana output weighing on global cocoa forecasts: Olam

Mon Mar 9, 2015 3:39pm GMT

By Ange Aboa

SAN PEDRO (Reuters) - Harsh weather in Ghana has pushed many in the cocoa market to predict a global deficit, a senior Olam executive said.

"We've been forecasting a deficit in the cocoa market for this season. And a lot of that has been the drop in production that we've seen in Ghana," Gerry Manley, Olam's global head of cocoa, said in an interview.

"We do also believe now that the rest of the market is understanding that Ghana won't be as strong as others were expecting, which is leading other industries to bring down their forecasts, in some cases from surplus to deficit," he said.

Singapore-based Olam International said in November that it expected a global deficit of more than 120,000 tonnes this season driven by smaller crops in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the largest and second largest producers respectively.

Then, many predicted a balanced market or even a small surplus in the wake of a record 2013/14 crop of 1.74 million tonnes in Ivory Coast.

But West Africa saw an unusually harsh Harmattan weather phenomenon in December and January.

International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) last month forecast a global cocoa deficit of 17,000 tonnes in 2014/15, compared with an estimated 30,000 tonnes surplus in 2013/14.

Cocoa purchases in Ghana have lagged well behind last season, according to statistics from industry regulator Cocobod.   Continued...

A man carries a cocoa bag while walking over cocoa beans left out to dry in Niable, at the border between Ivory Coast and Ghana, June 19, 2014. Picture taken June 19, 2014.        REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon
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