Supply disruptions in Ivory Coast spur cocoa's price rise Ivory Coast, the world's biggest producer of cocoa, has been embroiled in a political quagmire since the country's November presidential elections: Two rival presidents have emerged and neither will concede to the other.

Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized victor, endeavors to cut off funding to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and halted shipments of cocoa from leaving the country; however, as a result of his actions, cocoa prices could hit all-time record levels, analysts say.

Ouattara ordered the halt in shipments leaving the country yesterday, sending cocoa futures up in trading. Cocoa futures have risen 19 percent since the elections were held on November 28, and nearly 10 percent this month alone.

The ban could ultimately send cocoa prices as high as $3,720 per metric ton, analysts affirm; that price would mark cocoa's highest showing since January 1979 and almost $400 higher than cocoa's current trading level. This rise in the price of cocoa will soon hit food companies that use chocolate, including food giants like Hershey, Mars and Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest maker of bulk chocolate.

Ivory Coast's cocoa production represents nearly 33 percent of the global supply, Bloomberg reports, and is projected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2011.  
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