Can the Russia-Ukraine Conflict Coupled with Falling Global Demand Impact the Cocoa Industry?

Cocoa beans sun toasted

The cocoa industry is facing a perfect storm of challenges, as plummeting global demand and a war-induced fertilizer shortage threaten to sink cocoa prices to new lows. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has severely limited exports of fertilizers worldwide, leaving cocoa farmers struggling to keep their crops healthy. Meanwhile, weak demand has undercut prices, with Q4 cocoa grindings falling by 1.7% in Europe and 0.2% in Asia, according to the European and Asian Cocoa Associations.

Adding to the industry’s woes, Ivory Coast farmers have sent a cumulative 1.45 million metric tons of cocoa to ports for the 2022/23 marketing year, signaling ample supplies and further depressing prices. Last Monday, NY cocoa rallied to an 11-month high, driven by concerns that the seasonal Harmattan winds could lead to excessive dryness, but the upward trend proved to be short-lived.

Despite these headwinds, there are some indications that the cocoa industry may be on the verge of a rebound. A bullish quarterly report from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) on December 1 revealed that global cocoa production fell by 6.8% year-over-year, potentially signaling a recovery in prices in the coming months.

However, the ongoing difficulties with fertilizer and global demand will continue to affect the industry and farmers in the meantime, and investors should closely monitor the developments in the cocoa industry, as the prices may be affected by the current events. The industry is at a critical juncture, and it remains to be seen whether it will be able to weather this perfect storm and emerge stronger on the other side.

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