5, June 2018
Unwanted cocoa from Cameroon disrupted the latest exchange delivery in London as one trader was forced to split large piles of beans into smaller bags, according to people familiar with the matter. Swiss company Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. had to break down two piles of 1,000 metric tons of beans from Cameroon for delivery as several traders bought via the exchange, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It was the first time that the bulk delivery units had to be split, prompting ICE Futures Europe to delay the delivery announcement by a day and then later revise amounts.
In the latest delivery, some traders tried to avoid receiving cocoa from Cameroon by keeping their long positions below a certain level in the hope that they’d get beans of another origin, the people said. That backfired because exchange rules can force the breakdown into smaller bags.
Buyers of the May contract included Cargill Inc., Barry Callebaut AG, Dutch trader Cocoanect and Belgium’s Group Sopex, the people said. Most of the delivery was of Cameroonian beans, with the rest coming from Nigeria, ICE data show. Some arrangements to settle the expiry were made outside the exchange as ICE’s rules have a provision for alternative delivery procedures, according to the people.
The issue has called into question whether the exchange should allow bulk delivery, or a combination of Cameroon cocoa and bulk units, the traders said. The exchange will probably address the issue next time its cocoa advisory committee meets, the people said.
ICE continuously evaluates contract terms and procedures, including holding open dialogue with market participants, ICE Futures Europe President Stuart Williams said. The last delivery took place in line with exchange rules, he said, adding that it could look into possible changes based on industry feedback.