AMSTERDAM, June 14 Ratios for cocoa butter, the key ingredient in chocolate, firmed this week on strong demand that has triggered imports of more expensive Asian butter, traders said.
Price ratios for cocoa butter for July delivery were 2.22 times nearby London cocoa bean futures contracts <0#LCC:> on Friday against 2.17 times London last week and sharply up from 1.98 two weeks ago and 1.89 times London in April.
"In Europe, more cocoa butter is used in chocolate products and we have to import more expensive butter from Asia, and that has lifted differentials up," one trader said.
"In Asia, the industry uses less cocoa butter and more palm oil. Butter melts at a lower temperature than palm oil."
In Asia, butter ratios were at their highest since the second quarter of 2009, while seasonal demand had little impact on cocoa powder prices, dealers said on Friday.
Price differentials on Europe's cash cocoa market were unchanged this week as high prices kept many market players away, traders said.
Differentials for Ghana beans eased on ample supplies traders said.
Differentials for good quality Ghana beans for September delivery were at 105 pounds over the London September 2013 cocoa contract, compared to 125 pounds last week.
Differentials for Ivory Coast beans for September delivery eased to 70 pounds over London September contacts compared to 85 pounds last week.
On Friday, Liffe September cocoa fell 22 pounds or 1.5 percent to 1,491 pounds a tonne in modest turnover of 5,460 lots. Dealers referred to bearish pressure due to favourable crop weather in West African growing regions. (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac. Editing by Jane Merriman)