Europe cash cocoa: Strong demand for nearby butter contracts

Fri Oct 5, 2012 11:50am EDT

* Price ratios firm on strong demand from chocolate makers

* Purchasing differentials for Ivory Coast cocoa beans firm

AMSTERDAM Oct 5 (Reuters) - Price ratios for cocoa butter were firm in Europe's cash cocoa market on strong demand for nearby contracts, traders said.

Ratios for the key chocolate ingredient offered for sale for January-March delivery on Friday were 1.63 times nearby London cocoa bean contracts <0#LCC:>, up from 1.62 times London last week and only 1.22 in early July.

"There is strong demand for butter for delivery this year, but there is little capacity to produce more," one trader said.

"Chocolate demand is not rising so it seems that chocolate makers did not calculate their needs well," he said.

Market researchers Mintel said that while the global chocolate market value will be little changed on the year at $84.5 billion in 2012, Western Europe's chocolate market value is set to fall by around 5 percent.

Purchasing differentials for cocoa beans from Ivory Coast firmed over the past week on concerns the farmers are not satisfied with the minimum price set by the government and could have decided to hold on to their beans, traders said.

"We are getting some reports that farmers are not happy with the price," one trader said. "There are also concerns that the quality is not good enough."

Ivory Coast differentials for March delivery were about 60 pounds ($96.99) over London March contracts, from 30 30 pounds last week.

Disruption to trading on the Liffe markets, caused by technical issues, hampered activity on the London markets on Friday. ($1 = 0.6186 British pounds) (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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