Western Europe was the first of the big three reporting regions to publish its Q1 2023 cocoa bean grind use on Apr. 13. The market had been anticipating negative results after the drop of 1.7 percent YOY in Q4 2022. However, the actual numbers for the first quarter of 2023 showed surprising resilience, up 0.5 percent YOY at 375,375 MT of beans processed. This growth reversed the downward trend of the previous two quarters to reach a record high for the first quarter.
Germany, part of the greater Western European grind number, also showed growth, up 4 percent from Q1 2022. Before the market gets too far ahead of itself, though, remember that the season-to-date grind (October through March) is still down 0.6 percent for Western Europe. So, more work remains for the second half of the season to flip the negative to a positive.
The surprising growth from Europe, having surpassed an already robust Q1 2022 volume and seen a nominal gain, is very impressive considering previous estimates.
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