Monday, July 19, 2010

UPDATED: "Mystery trader buys all Europe's cocoa"

UPDATE II: Again from the Telegraph "Cocoa king Anthony Ward is hungry for African food production":
Anthony "Chocfinger" Ward, the commodities trader whose group Armajaro Holdings has just cornered the cocoa market, is planning his next move into food. 

UPDATE: It appears that MarketBeat had the link eleven minutes before we did:
A Look at that Cuckoo Cocoa Trade That Has Everyone Talking
...Dow Jones reports that the massive size of the trade has some calling for increased regulation including U.S.-style position limits on commodities. According to NYSE Liffe data released Friday, BNP Paribas and nine other brokers took possession of more than 240,000 metric tons of cocoa, valued at as much as $1 billion.
Original post:
There have been rumblings about oddities in this market for at least a month.
From the Telegraph:

Even Willy Wonka might struggle to use this much chocolate. Yesterday, somebody bought 241,000 tonnes of cocoa beans. 

The purchase was enough to move the entire global cocoa market, sending the price to the highest level since 1977, and triggering rumours and intrigue in the City.
It is unclear which person, or group of traders, was behind the deal, but it was the largest single cocoa trade for 14 years.

The cocoa beans, which are sitting in warehouses either in The Netherlands, Hamburg, or closer to home in London, Liverpool or Humberside is equivalent to the entire supply of the commodity in Europe, and would fill more than five Titanics. They are worth £658 million.

Analysts said it was very unlikely that a chocolate company, such as Nestle or Kraft, or even their suppliers, would buy such a huge order in one go and that is was probable that one or a number of speculators, possibly hedge funds, had attempted to corner the market. By doing this, they would have control of the entire supply in Europe, forcing the price yet higher.

Eugen Weinberg, an analyst with Commerzbank, said: “For one buyer it would likely be a little bit too large. It would be a crazy number. That said, if you’re cornering the market ...”
“If it looks like cornering, feels like cornering and the price difference between Europe and the US is so large, it probably is cornering.”

“There is some play taking place. No one really knows what is going on.”
Andreas Christiansen, president of the German Cocoa Trade Association, said the “hefty” price move was “a mirror of what can be done if people control the physical stock”....MORE