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NEW YORK: Cocoa futures on the ICE exchange fell on Thursday, edging away from multi-year and multi-decade peaks as data showed demand is starting to shrink in response to soaring prices.

September New York cocoa fell 0.8% to $3,404 a metric ton by 1345 GMT, edging away from Wednesday’s 12-year peak.

September London cocoa fell 0.7% to 2,565 pounds per metric ton, some way off a 46-year-peak hit earlier this month.

Asia’s second-quarter cocoa grind, a measure of demand, fell 6.5% year-on-year to 213,977 metric ton, data showed.

The figures follow a 5.7% fall in Europe’s Q2 cocoa grind reported last week. North American figures are due later this session and also expected to show declines.

The recent surge in cocoa prices has been driven by heavy rains in West Africa that have led to outbreaks of black pod disease.

There are also fears the La Nina weather phenomenon could push the market into a third successive deficit next season.

October raw sugar rose 1.3% to 24.51 cents per lb, having hit its highest in nearly a month earlier at 24.58.

Dealers said El Nino has so far led to patchy rains in key producers India and Thailand but against that, top producer Brazil is enjoying favorable weather that is expected to lead to strong, if not record, output.

On the plus-side though, they noted demand appears solid as much of the consuming world is now concerned with the health aspects of artificial sweeteners and emerging economies are doing surprisingly well.

October white sugar rose 1.7% to $687.40 per metric ton.

September arabica coffee rose 2% to $1.5900 per lb.

Brazil’s Cooxupe, the world’s largest coffee co-operative, said the 2023 harvest in the areas where it operates reached 50.5% of the fields by July 14 - the quickest pace since 2020.

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