Cocoa grinding data for the third quarter of 2019 paints a picture of mixed demand.
In recent years, grinding always increased in the third quarter in North America, the strongest quarter, with the Christmas season approaching. However, this year, it lagged 7 per cent behind last year at 119,000 tons.
Commerzbank Research said grinding in Europe stagnated year-on-year at around 363,000 tons, though it was able to recover from the weak second quarter.
In absolute terms, the fourth-highest quarterly grinding figure ever was achieved. That said, the trend towards grinding outside traditional consumer regions continues.
“In Asia for example, 14.7 per cent more cocoa was ground than a year ago, at 225,000 tons. The year-on-year change rates have always been positive since the end of 2015, with the year-on-year growth rate often being in double digits,” Commerzbank said.
“Grinding is now shifting increasingly to the producer countries themselves, of which the largest are to be found in West Africa. According to the International Cocoa Organization, they accounted for 47 per cent of global grinding in the now ended 2018/19 season – the highest proportion ever.”