Halloween Comes Early For Hedge Funds

Sep 18 2013 | 10:39am ET

Hedge funds have rediscovered their sweet tooth, amassing record numbers of cocoa contracts.

Net long positions in New York and London topped 165,000 lots—more than the world's largest cocoa producer, the Ivory Coast, puts out in a year, the Financial Times reports. The huge demand for cocoa and cocoa products, coupled with fears about the weather in West Africa, have lifted brown gold out of a two-year slump, sending prices up 17% over the last two-and-a-half months.

"These are unprecedented levels," Marex Spectron agriculture co-head Jonathan Parkman told the FT.

Cocoa butter is a particularly hot commodity right now, a sign of growing demand for luxury chocolates.

"Chocolate makers are really struggling to get their hands on cocoa butter at the moment," Parkman said.

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