The president of C'ote D'Ivorie, the world's top cocoa
grower, is in emergency talks after a widespread military mutinty.
The news has raised fears of a repeat of the 2011 civil war,
where political unrest disrupted cocoa exports and production, but markets have
been sanguine so far, given the market is still dealing glutted with a backlock of supplies
The unrest began in Bouake, before spreading to Daloa and
Korhogo, major urban centres of inland Cote D'Ivoire, although well away from
the capital of Abidjan and the port of San Pedro.
Gunfire, the seizure of police weapons, and rebel roadblocks
have been reported.
2011 all over again?
Although the movement, which does not have a clear leader,
has yet to issue public demands, the Ivorian defence minister told media the
soldiers were demanding salary increases.
Bouake, the country's second-largest city, was the
stronghold of the rebellion which put current president Alassane Ouattara in
power in 2011, after his predecessor refused to leave office.
C'ote D'Ivoire is the world's largest cocoa producer,
accounting for about a third of the world's supply.
The 2011 unrest pushed cocoa prices to their highest levels
in about 30 years, due to fears over supply disruption.
Little price response
But the price reaction to the unrest has been muted so far.
"If it had been the capital we would have seen a response,"
said Mr George.
Although the unrest is in the cocoa production area, Mr
George noted that "warehouses, and the key exporting grinding areas there haven't
March cocoa futures in New York were up 0.3% in mid-day
deals, at $2,268 a tonne.
And the whole cocoa supply chain is currently glutted, meaning
there is still cocoa for export.
"If anything there's too many beans available," said Mr
George, noting reports of "beans building up at the ports," and "trucks building
up at Abidjan and San Pedro".
"There's a hell of a lot of cocoa," Mr George said.
And aside from the unrest, there is no other threat to production
so far, with the winter harmattan winds which can damage the crop relatively
mild so far this year.
Mr George said that Ivorian producers were on track for a "very
good main crop," with no threat to the mid-crop so far.