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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 16:38 GMT
Cocoa price hits 14-year-high
If cocoa prices keep rising, chocolate prices may rise
Bad weather and political instability in major producing countries have pushed cocoa prices to a 14-year high.

The cocoa price has risen nearly 70% since September, reaching 1,190 a tonne in London on Friday.

Graham Phillips, a cocoa broker with Sucden in London, told the BBC's World Business Report that political instability over the past two years has affected the crop in the Ivory Coast, one of the world's leading producers .

The world's third-biggest cocoa producer, Ghana, has also seen its production fall and traders believe the country may have sold more cocoa than it can actually supply this season.

Forward sales

Ghana is the only substantial cocoa producer that still agrees prices at the beginning of the season.
Cocoa tree in Ghana
Ghana is the world's second biggest Cocoa supplier

The price farmers will receive for their crop each season - October to March - is arranged by a government board in the summer.

This forward selling means farmers in Ghana will not benefit from the current rise in cocoa prices and some farmers have smuggled cocoa over the border to Ivory Coast where prices are linked to the market price.

If cocoa prices continue to rise, we may see this reflected in the price of a bar of chocolate, according to Mr Phillips.

"If cocoa kept moving higher and we moved back to the record highs seen in the late 70s early 80s when we were exceeding 2,000 a tonne then ultimately the price would be affected in the street," he said.

Graham Phillips, Sucden
"Ivory Coast produces 40% of the world's crop"
See also:

24 Sep 01 | Business
Ivory Coast protects cocoa farmers
15 Jul 00 | Africa
Cocoa destroyed to boost price
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