By David Hodari
Growth in European processing volumes of raw cocoa beans slowed to 2.7% on the year in the third quarter, according to data released Monday by the European Cocoa Association.
Cocoa grindings--the amount of raw cocoa processed into butter and powder for the manufacturing of confectionary and chocolate--marked a sharp slowdown after hitting 7.3% in the second quarter. That was the largest on-year percentage rise since the second quarter of the 2010-2011 season, the Brussels-based ECA said.
While the quarterly growth rate slowed, grindings were still a healthy 5.1% higher than they were in the third quarter of 2017, climbing to 363,122 metric tons in July-September from 356,109 tons the previous three months.
Grindings in the second quarter were largely in line with analysts' expectations of traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who were expecting the on-year figure to remain strong but to edge back from the second quarter.
Lower liquidity stemming from a bulk of less-sellable Cameroonian cocoa has been partly to blame for recent volatility in futures prices.
Grinding numbers for North America provided by the National Confectioners Association, and for Asia from the Cocoa Association of Asia, are expected to be released over the coming weeks.
The ECA represents 20 companies in the European Union and Switzerland, including Barry Callebaut, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Inc., Ferrero SpA (FRO.YY), Nestle SA (NESN.EB) and Mondelez International.
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