While the world may not run out of chocolate as many predicted in 2013, strong growth in demand is limiting surpluses driven by record crops. Expansion in grind has been registered across most of the major reporting regions over the past three years. Earlier this week European Cocoa Association announced that Q1 2019 grind was up 3.3 percent from Q1 2018. Should demand continue at these levels, European consumption could come close to 1.5 million metric tons (MMT) this year. The European report was the 12th consecutive quarter of YOY grind increases and sets a historic high in terms of demand.
Likewise, Asian grind also saw healthy YOY increase of 9.5 percent for Q1 2019. The industry is still awaiting the release of the North American grind figures, but the global appetite for cocoa appears healthy and starting 2019 on a brisk pace. Fortunately, cocoa production has expanded at a higher pace than growth in demand over the past decade and previous concerns about a deficit above 1 MMT have not materialized. However, the strength in demand has many in the industry reevaluating their supply and demand forecasts and narrowing their anticipated surpluses for the current crop year.
Western Europe grind growth
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