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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Cocoa price climbs after Ivory Coast's Ouattara calls for export ban

The internationally recognised winner of Cote d’Ivoire's presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, ordered a month-long ban on cocoa exports on Monday in an attempt to starve his rival Laurent Gbagbo of funding. Cocoa prices soared in reaction. Ouattara has called for a halt in exports to remain in place until 23 February. Commodity analysts saw cocoa prices reach a one-year high on the New York Board of Trade and a five-month peak on the London futures exchange in trading on Monday. “Cocoa prices are reacting,” Kona Haque from Macquarie Bank told RFI. She said it could lead to a “major supply disruption”. Correspondent Marco Chown Oved in Abidjan said Ouattara’s announcement has “sown confusion at the ports” in the world’s biggest cocoa producer. “Exporters are still loading cocoa beans onto ships,” Chown Oved told RFI, although these exports were all registered and paid for before Ouattara’s call for a ban. The ban was declared in a statement signed by Ouattara’s prime minister Guillaume Soro. He warned traders who violated the ban that they would be considered to be “financing the illegitimate regime” of Gbagbo. “Gbagbo controls from bush to port, all the intermediary points,” said Haque. “So if you are banning exports of cocoa, ultimately this will hit the finances of Gbagbo,” she added. Cocoa accounts for about 20 per cent of Cote d’Ivoire’s Gross Domestic Product and a ban could seriously hamper Gbagbo. [...] The European Union has said a trade embargo is a future option. The EU is already waiting for agreed sanctions to take effect. Eleven economic entities will be affected, including the important cocoa exporting ports of Abidjan and San Pedro. This means that in principle EU ships and companies can no longer do business with them.

Source: Radio France International