European Cocoa Grindings in 2Q Beat Expectations

By David Hodari Features Dow Jones Newswires

European processing volumes of raw cocoa beans rose 2.1% in the second quarter year-over-year, slightly outperforming industry expectations, according to data released Tuesday by the European Cocoa Association.

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Cocoa grindings--the amount of raw cocoa processed into butter and powder for the manufacturing of confectionary and chocolate--ticked up to 331,850 metric tons of beans in the April-June period--although that represented a slight fall from the first quarter--,the Brussels-based ECA said.

The rise consolidated the 1.1% rise recorded in the first quarter of 2017 and was higher than the expectations of analysts and traders surveyed The Wall Street Journal. On average, traders had expected an increase of 1.6%, which one London-based trader referred to as "gentle."

The data came after a quarter in which investors balanced bumper West African yields with tepid European demand to calibrate their expectations.

Grinding figures are often used as a proxy for demand but traders say they can also reflect the location and importance of factories or the movement of beans.

The release of the figures came one day before Swiss-based Barry Callebaut AG--the world's largest cocoa processing company--is set to release its first-half results for its Europe, Middle East, and Africa division.

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Grinding numbers for North America, from the National Confectioners Association, and for Asia--from the Cocoa Association of Asia--are expected to be released next week. The WSJ poll put NCA second-quarter grindings up 2.5% and CAA grindings up by an average of 14.5%.

The ECA represents 20 companies in the European Union and Switzerland, including Barry Callebaut, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, Ferrero SpA, Nestle SA and Mondelez International Inc.

Write to David Hodari at david.hodari@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 11, 2017 03:28 ET (07:28 GMT)