The world’s largest cocoa producer, Ivory Coast, is halting exports of cocoa for 30 days in order to cut funds heading to the ex-president, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to step down. The president-elect has issued the ban and major exporters have agreed to stand with him. Supporters of the ban are widespread, but concerns mount over the impact of world cocoa prices and the economic state of the delicate nation. The line graph below illustrates the value trend of cocoa imports to the United States from the Ivory Coast.
This unexpected ban has created apprehension for cocoa importers, who are requesting softer restrictions on exports from the country. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune
, “The March contract was $28 more expensive than cocoa for May delivery, a signal that buyers are concerned that supplies for immediate delivery will be tight.” As prices rise for buyers, in turn, consumers will likely be burdened with higher prices or smaller packages. Sources predict the price of cocoa could rise as much as 10 percent; posing a large hit for buyers and consumers. The pie graph below illustrates the large impact of the Ivory Coast in U.S. cocoa imports.
The ban is also taking its toll on cocoa exporters and producers in Ivory Coast and others that depend on the cocoa sales to make a living. With pressure mounting worldwide for Gbagbo to step down from office, many are hoping that the ban will be the last push he needs.