Weekly cocoa market review 12/14/2020.

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Last week, ICE U.S. cocoa futures closed lower at $2,622 a ton.
Ivory Coast lifts suspension of sustainability programs imposed on industrialist Hershey . Indeed, the U.S. chocolate maker has committed to pay the LID, a premium introduced by Ghana and Ivory Coast to ensure a decent income for producers. This marks a break in the tensions between the two countries and the manufacturer. Cocoa prices fell to 2520 dollars per ton, before recovering over the weekend regaining 100 dollars in 2 sessions. The downward movement seems to be running out of steam between the hopes brought by the vaccine, the vaccination campaigns that will follow, and low ICE stocks.
Cocoa stocks are down to 2967 thousand 60 kg bags.
The International Cocoa Organization ICCO has revised the cocoa surplus downward to 19,000 tons from a previous forecast of 42,000 tons. The ICCO estimated world cocoa production at 4.697 million tonnes, about 27,000 tonnes less than its previous forecast. World cocoa grindings are forecast at 4,631 thousand tonnes, 4 thousand less.
The dry period in West Africa has begun and runs from mid-November to March. Producers fear the arrival of the Harmattan. It is a dusty wind coming from the northeast of the Sahara and which blows during the dry season. The above-normal rainfall last week, however, improves the prospects for the end of the main harvest between January and March, and reassures producers in the more central parts of Ivory Coast, which had received less rain.
Ivory Coast seems to have turned the page on its troubled presidential election, and it is now the turn of its neighbor and world's second largest cocoa producer Ghana. President Nana Akufo-Addo is re-elected, but the opposition rejects the results of a close ballot. Half a million votes separate the incumbent president and his opponent, John Mahama.
Internationally, the ECB has increased its asset repurchase program by $500 billion, the U.S. support plan is still slow in coming, and a brexit no-deal is increasingly likely. The FDA in turn is approving the use of Pfizer's vaccine, and vaccination begins this week in the US. In terms of the pandemic update, we have just surpassed 72 million cases worldwide, with more than 1.607 million deaths . The U.S. is still the most affected country, and will approach and surpass the 300,000 mark in deaths and more than 16 million cases.
The Dollar consolidated last week as the DXY closed higher at 90.976, with the long-term trend still bearish .


Ivory Coast and Ghana experienced above normal rainfall in October with an average rainfall of more than 150mm. They were more mixed in November. The southern parts of these 2 countries received above normal rainfall and the northern parts were 50mm below normal. Cocoa trees are more affected by rainfall than any other climatic factor. The dry season started in Ivory Coast and Ghana and lasts from mid-November to March. Producers hope that the Harmattan will not come too early this year. It is a dusty wind from the northeast of the Sahara that blows during the dry season. Harmattan can have a negative impact on crops. The wind would already be present in the northern part of the country, which explains why rainfall was already more concentrated in the coastal areas. Last week's above-normal rainfall of more than 25 mm in some areas has reassured producers.


Cocoa stocks are down to 2967 from 3048 thousand 60 kg bags last week. ICE US and EU cocoa stocks are above last season's stocks at the same period.


The DXY index representing the Dollar against a basket of foreign currencies closed last week up at 90.976, although the long-term trend is still bearish . The DXY consolidated last week. The ECB increased its asset repurchase program by $500 billion, and, the U.S. support plan is still lagging behind, still failing to agree on emergency aid of just over $900 billion. The dollar has also strengthened against the pound sterling , on an increasingly likely no-deal, as the disagreements seem so deep.
A low dollar is generally favorable to dollar-denominated commodity markets.


The weekly COT ( Commitments of Traders ) report of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) shows all the positions opened by all market participants. The COT report is published on Friday, and reflects the open positions on Tuesday of the same week. It shows the position of commercial traders (producers, commodity buyers, ...) but also non-commercial (speculators).
The net positions of speculators on the futures markets are particularly interesting to observe.
The speculative net position on the cocoa futures markets is down this week to 32.379 K instead of 35.147 K.


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