As we near the end of Q1, cocoa bean stocks in licensed U.S. warehouses continue to seasonally climb with the arrivals of more main-crop beans from West Africa. We are already 5 percent above last year’s levels at this time, and inventories should continue to climb over the next quarter. Stocks will likely surpass 5 million bags and may reach as high as 5.5 million bags by the start of summer.
That sets a highwater mark exceeding 5 million bags by early summer and with any luck closer to 5.5 million. At 4,133,334 bags, we are still 3.5 percent behind the statistical five-year average.
The arrival of main-crop beans should place warehouse stocks in a good position ahead of a recovery in grind demand expected by the industry for later this year.