Global cocoa bean stocks in decline

World cocoa bean stocks fell to 1.48m tonnes during the 2015/2016 season, according to the latest figures.

This week, the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) Expert Working Group on Stocks (EWGS) met to review the level of world cocoa bean stocks. The EWGS is composed of experts in the cocoa field who meet once a year, at the invitation of the ICCO, to review and analyse the results of the ICCO’s annual survey of cocoa stocks held in warehouses worldwide. The survey has been conducted every year since 2000 and aims to improve transparency in the cocoa market.

The result of the latest survey shows that world cocoa bean stocks fell to 1.48 million tonnes at the end of September 2016. Some 80% of the stocks were located in cocoa importing countries, while 16% were held in cocoa producing countries and 4% were afloat.

The level of world cocoa bean stocks identified by the ICCO survey was down by 13,000 tonnes compared to the previous year. This reflects a smaller cocoa supply deficit than the one published by the ICCO in November 2016 in its latest Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics (QBCS), estimated at 150,000 tonnes for the 2015/2016 season.

The review conducted by the EWGS during its meeting led to the conclusion that the survey results may have underestimated the reduction of existing world stocks during that year, due to the contraction of ‘invisible’ stocks – origin stocks held in locations not reporting to the ICCO survey.

Consequently, the cocoa supply deficit for the 2015/2016 season was higher than the 13,000 tonnes stock draw identified by the survey.

The ICCO secretariat maintains, so far, its supply deficit estimate of 150,000 tonnes for 2015/2016 as published in its latest QBCS. The estimate will be revised in its next bulletin, due at the end of February, taking into account the outcome of this survey.

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