Muted quarterly growth for cocoa bean grind in Europe, Asia, & North America
ECA reported cocoa grind for Q4 2018 at 359,103 MT, up 1.6 percent from grind in Q4 2017, marking the eighth straight quarter of YOY growth. From 2015 through 2018, in fact, only three quarters showed YOY declines: Q1 2015, Q1 2016, and Q4 2015. Growth of 1.6 percent YOY for Q4 2018 is lower than many expected and down from the average growth of 2.6 percent over those same four years, so it is unsurprising that this data may seem not wholly bullish to the trade, particularly given the context of global political and economic uncertainty. Grind in calendar 2018 totaled 1.437 MMT, up a very strong 4.2 percent YOY and a seven-year high that was just shy of grind of 1.438 MMT in 2011. (On a market-year basis, 2017/18 grind was up 4.9 percent from 2016/17 grind.)
Asia’s Q4 2018 grind was reported at 208,900 MT, up 6.3 percent YOY and just shy of the average quarterly growth of 6.6 percent YOY over the last four years. This brings 2018 grind to 780,956 MT of beans, up 7.8 percent YOY. Though not wholly unexpected, this is down from YOY growth of 9.0 percent in 2016 and of 11.2 percent in 2017. CAA reports grind from members in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Asian grind has grown for 13 straight quarters.
North American grind growth came in on the lower end of trade estimates: Q4 2018 grind was 117,526 MT of cocoa, up 1.2 percent from Q4 2017’s figure. This is only the second straight quarter of YOY growth and is down from YOY growth of 2.5 percent reported for Q3 2018. In the last four years, only six quarters showed YOY growth. North America’s 2018 grind totaled 484,009 MT, down 0.1 percent from 2017, matching the 0.1 percent decrease in 2017 grind vs. 2016.
Annual cocoa bean grind history, major reporting regions
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