Cocoa Drops as Forecast Points to Oversupply

By Julie Wernau Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cocoa futures fell Wednesday as long-positioned speculators took money off the table in the oversupplied market.

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Cocoa for July lost 5.1% to $1,918 a ton, returning the contract to its lowest level since May 5.

"Nothing has really changed fundamentally in the cocoa market," said Nicholas Gentile, managing partner at NickJen Capital Management.

On Wednesday, Rabobank was the latest firm to push forward a bearish outlook for cocoa. The firm said it expects a 330,000 tons surplus for cocoa for 2016/2017 and a 150,000 ton surplus for 2017/2018.

With such low prices, the firm said it expects only a minor increase in production outside Africa but it said the lower prices could help demand.

Rabobank's forecast for the 2016/2017 season calls for a significantly larger surplus than other recent forecasts.

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The International Cocoa Organization estimated that production of cocoa will surpass demand in the 2016/2017 season that began in October by 264,000 tons, helped along by record production in Ivory Coast, the largest grower of cocoa in the world. The West African nation is set to produce 1.9 million tons, a 20% increase over last year.

Commerzbank said in a note that a good mixture of sun and rain over the next few months could ensure that crop volume is exceeded in Ivory Coast.

In other markets, raw sugar for July lost 2.8% to 15.43 cents a pound, arabica coffee for July was down 0.7% at $1.294 a pound, frozen concentrated orange juice for July was flat at $1.358 a pound and July cotton rose 0.4% to 77.58 cents a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 24, 2017 11:53 ET (15:53 GMT)