Biggest cocoa harvest in decade spurs record debt sale

the Licenced Cocoa Buyers Association of Ghana (LICOBAG) has called for the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) to lead deliberations.

The biggest cocoa harvest in a decade is spurring record domestic borrowing by the industry regulator of the world’s no. 2 cocoa producer.

Ghana Cocoa Board has sold 11.7 billion cedis ($2 billion) of six-month bills between January and May, the most in the five-month period since at least 2011, when Bloomberg started keeping records.

The regulator, which is the only buyer of the chocolate ingredient in Ghana, typically borrows from overseas banks but the 2020-21 production has exceeded target, stretching the $1.3 billion syndicated loan that was raised at the beginning of the season in October. It increased bill sales to help refinance maturing obligations, said Ray Ankrah, the head of finance and administration at the agency.

Farmers harvested 965,493 metric tons by June 3, compared with a target of 900,000 tons for the whole crop year that ends in September. This places Ghana easily within the reach of the 1 million-ton mark, which was last attained in 2010-11.

Yields on the bills are falling, as traders speculate that the regulator will make more income from the bumper crop. The 1.3 billion cedis, 182-day securities issued at 17.65% on May 18, are currently trading at 15.65%.

Even though cocoa futures have dropped over this year, average prices are at still 5% higher at $2,475 a ton from a year earlier.

The regulator is also planning to raise $1.5 billion through syndicated loans for the season that begins in October, Ankrah said.

Credit: Bloomberg

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