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UK hedge fund in 658m cocoa trade

Date: Monday, July 19, 2010
Author: Hysni Kaso, Investment Week

UK hedge fund Armajaro Holdings purchased 658m of cocoa on Friday, in a move which single-handedly moved the global cocoa market.

Anthony Ward, co-founder of Armajaro, bought 241,000 tons of cocoa beans and now owns enough to manufacture 5.3bn quarter-pound chocolate bars, The Telegraph reports.

The transaction, the largest single cocoa trade in 14 years, is not the first time Ward has moved the cocoa markets. In 2002, the manager made 40m in two months on a similar deal, buying 204,000 tones of cocoa when West Africa was experiencing poor harvests and political instability.

The cocoa beans from his latest trade - which is equivalent to the entire supply of the commodity in Europe - are expected to be kept in warehouses in The Netherlands, Hamburg, London, Liverpool or Humberside.

Cocoa prices rose by 0.7% to 2,732 per metric tonne after the trade - the highest price for cocoa in Europe since 1977. It follows weak harvests in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the main areas where the crop is grown.