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Cocoa Futures Prices Surge With Bullish News From Ivory Coast

October 5, 1988

Undated (AP) _ Futures prices of cocoa surged Wednesday at the Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange in New York on reports that the Ivory Coast - the world’s largest producer - would not be lowering farmer cocoa prices.

The expected move would come at a time when world cocoa prices are at a 13- year low, and traders took the reports as an indication that the Ivory Coast will continue to withhold cocoa from the world market, analysts said.

In other markets, oil prices plummeted, cattle futures prices were mixed, hog prices were mostly lower, frozen pork bellies declined, corn and soybeans slid, wheat prices advanced and gold and silver prices rallied.

The surge in cocoa prices comes at a time when world stocks are at record level, and the Ivory Coast is about to begin harvesting their new crop, said Sandra Kaul, an analyst with Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. in New York.

Talk that the African nation won’t lower prices paid to cocoa famers was ″taken as a sign by the market that the Ivory Coast ... may perhaps continue (their) very limited sales policy,″ and that could turn the surplus into a deficit, she said.

Cocoa prices were $39 to $61 higher with the contract for delivery in December at $1,228 a ton.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, reports of burgeoning supplies and rumors about OPEC defections sent oil futures prices plunging.

The November contract for West Texas Intermediate dropped 47 cents to settle at $12.60 a barrel in heavy, hectic trading. The benchmark U.S. crude traded as low as a $12.28 barrel during the session.

Crude oil was 12 cents to 47 cents lower with the contract for delivery in November at $12.60 a barrel; heating oil was .41 cent to .52 cent lower with November at 37.76 cents a gallon; and unleaded gas was .55 cent to 1.67 cents lower with November at 39.44 cents a gallon.

Profit-taking among corn and soybean traders after Tuesday’s rallies pressured prices at the Chicago Board of Trade.

An outlook for favorable harvesting weather for the next several days in the Corn Belt added pressure, analysts said.

An anticipated overnight frost in key soybean-growing regions that would have threatened crops failed to materialize and helped keep the lid on buying enthusiasm in the bean pit, said Cathy Leow, assistant vice president at Thompson McKinnon Securities, Inc. in New York.

Wheat gained support from continued expectations that signing of the U.S.-Soviet grain pact is near, she said.

Wheat prices settled 3 cents to 4 1/4 cents higher, with the contract for delivery in December at $4.26 1/4 a bushel; corn was 1/2 cent to 2 cents lower, with December at $2.93 1/2 a bushel; oats were 1 cent to 2 1/2 cents lower, with December at $2.46 3/4 a bushel; and soybeans were 3 cents to 8 1/ 2 cents lower, with November at $8.23 a bushel.

There were few outside influences at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where the cattle market was ″undergoing some short-term liquidations″ after reaching new contract highs in feeder cattle on Tuesday, said Paul Hare, a Chicago analyst with Linnco Futures Inc.

Hog traders were hedging their positions in anticipation of lower prices this fall, he said.

Live cattle prices settled .40 cent lower to .35 cent higher, with the contract for delivery in October at 72.02 cents a pound; feeder cattle were .43 cent lower to .15 cent higher with October at 81.72 cents a pound; live hogs were .50 cent lower to .33 cent higher with October at 40.20 cents a pound; and pork bellies were .10 cent to .75 cent lower with February at 49.45 cents a pound.

Trading was lackluster with few fundamental factors at the New York Commodity Exchange and volume was thin as traders protected their positions, analysts said.

Gold was $2.60 to $2.70 higher, with October at $400.80 a troy ounce; silver was up 5 cents in all contract months, with October at $6.298 a troy ounce.

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