Ivory Coast has sold at least 300,000 tonnes of cocoa in export contracts for the 2024/25 season despite pressure from multinational companies to lower prices, exporters and regulator sources recently said.
Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa producer, and along with neighbouring Ghana, produces about two-thirds of the world's supply. The 2023/24 harvest season started on 1 October.
The country's regulator, the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC), said last week that it was struggling to sell export contracts for the next season as many companies were unwilling to pay the going rate.
The price of cocoa has been driven up by a global supply squeeze.
But exporters and two CCC sources said demand, mainly from local exporters, had helped 2024/25 sales pick up.
"Over the past few days we have sold between 300,000 and 350,000 tonnes of cocoa in export contracts," one CCC source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Five local exporters said they were still interested in buying exports contracts while the price was stable.
They said they expected further price hikes due to a slow start to the main crop in both Ivory Coast and Ghana combined with global supply shortages.
"We are buying 2024/25 contracts because unlike multinationals, we cannot speculate on a fall in the market in the long-run. If this doesn't happen, current contracts will become even more expensive," said the director of one local export group.
The CCC sources said sales of 2024/25 export contracts were so far higher than during the same period last season.