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Ebola Fears Sends Price Volatility Surging In... Chocolate

The world's candy-makers are worried. As Politico reports, Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in all your favorite candy, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars. While Ivory Coast (which produces around a third of the world's total cacao beans) has yet to see a single case of Ebola yet, the price of Cocoa futures has become extremely volatile in recent weeks breaking notably higher than its normal range between $2000 and $2700 pere ton. Simply put - and not wanting to spread panic and fear - Ebola is threatening much of the world's chocolate supply.

Cocoa prices are surging and volatile...

 

As Politico reports,

Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.

 

 

Ivory Coast, which produces about 1.6 million metric tons of cacao beans per year — roughly 33 percent of the world’s total, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization — closed its borders in August to Guinea and Liberia. More than 8,000 have been diagnosed with Ebola, and nearly 4,000 have died in those two countries and Sierra Leone. Next to Ivory Coast is Ghana, the world’s third-largest producer of cacao beans — 879,348 metric tons per year — or 15 percent of the world’s total.

 

Tim McCoy, a senior adviser for the WCF, said signs that Ivory Coast residents already are concerned were immediately obvious during his last trip to the country in September.

 

“Going into meetings where … you always shake hands and often times, with men and women, you do the cheek kiss thing … They weren’t doing that,” McCoy said.

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So while gas prices fall - providing consumers with modestly more money in their pockets - that other staple of daily life, the chocolate bar, is set to rise and eat through those savings...