Big chocolate bet goes bad

'Choc Finger' grabbed a huge amount of the world's cocoa this year. Now he's trying to sell it back.

By Kim Peterson Dec 16, 2010 1:58PM
Chocolate © image100/CorbisOne British man turned the world's chocolate business on its head this year, buying enough cocoa in July alone to make 15 million Hershey's bars.

Anthony Ward bought so much cocoa, in fact, that people worried he was trying to corner the market and raise prices. But his chocolate binge has turned out to be a very bad investment.

Cocoa has performed miserably since July to become the worst agricultural performer this year. And Ward, nicknamed "Choc Finger," has started to sell off his hoard.

Ward's commodities firm, Armajaro, controlled about 7% of the world's cocoa this summer. Armajaro's big buys pushed cocoa futures up to $4,275 per metric ton, The Wall Street Journal reports.

But good weather is in the forecast for Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer. A nice harvest is ahead -- and that has helped bring down cocoa futures about 30% from their summer peaks to about $2,950 per metric ton. Ouch. Post continues after video:
Dealers now tell the Journal that holding cocoa stocks isn't as attractive anymore. "Arrivals seem pretty reasonable, so why continue with a losing venture?" one trader told the newspaper.

Ward must be asking himself the same thing. His firm is desperately trying to find buyers for its cocoa supplies before Ivory Coast sees its harvest, which could further drag down cocoa futures.

Ward hit the jackpot with cocoa in 2002, reportedly making a $17 million profit on a big bet. Sounds like his luck ran out this time.

7Comments
Dec 20, 2010 7:51AM
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If you want to corner the cocoa market,  buy cans of DROSTEs  DUTCH COCOA!

 

Its the bakers choice.  Proof is in the size of my belly courtesy of a baking Mother!

 

;-)

Dec 17, 2010 3:24PM
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James Bon-Bon will handle Choc Finger!!
Dec 17, 2010 3:23PM
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I think I read today that Ivory Coast, the world's largest producer of cocoa,  is on the verge of civil war. So if the situation in Ivory Coast gets worse, then having a lot of chocolate might not be a bad thing.
Dec 17, 2010 3:07PM
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Did someone say, "chocolate"?  ;)
Dec 17, 2010 5:00AM
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History is written on many attempts to corner the market on something.  Seem to recall SUGAR KING in SFO in the 19th Century...

 

But, then there are the success stories.

 

Never did hear about GSachs  buying oil tankers full of crude @$60 and parking them in the Gulf.  Wonder what...

 

One thing I did learn is to do it through 3rd world countries so legal threats are minimized.

 

SO THERE

Dec 16, 2010 8:21PM
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All he did was drive of the price of stupiditySmile
Dec 16, 2010 5:38PM
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Well that is exactly what he deserves! When any one person tries to dominate supply its usually ends up in a failure.. Just ask the Hunt brothers concerning the silver market way back in the 80's ..
The collapse of the silver market meant countless losses for speculators. The Hunt brothers declared bankruptcy. By 1987 their liabilities had grown to nearly $2.5 billion against assets of $1.5 billion. In August of 1988 the Hunts were convicted of conspiring to manipulate the market.
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