Cocoa prices surge on Ivory Coast export ban

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Cocoa futures soared to one-year highs on Monday as the recognised winner of presidential elections in Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa producer, ordered a halt to exports of the commodity.

On the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), cocoa for delivery in March struck $3,393 a tonne -- the highest point since January 2010.

On LIFFE, London's futures exchange, cocoa for March reached a five-month peak of £2,307 a tonne.

Alassane Ouattara, internationally recognised as the winner of Ivory Coast's recent election, tried to choke off funding for his rival Laurent Gbagbo by ordering a halt to cocoa and coffee exports.

As Nigeria called on the UN Security Council to authorise force to prise Gbagbo out of the presidency, Ouattara's government flexed its muscles by insisting on "the immediate stoppage of all exports of coffee and cocoa."

"The cocoa market is under the influence of the one-month export ban imposed by newly elected president Ouattara of Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer," analysts at Commerzbank said in a note to clients.

"The sale of cocoa beans abroad accounts for a quarter of Ivory Coast's export revenues," they added.

© 2011 AFP

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