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Market round-up: The end of cheap chocolate

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-05-2017 Livemint

Cocoa prices soared amid signs of tighter supplies in Ivory Coast, the world’s top grower, raising prospects that chocolate prices will climb. July futures jumped 6.8%, the most ever for the contract. Farmers in West Africa are already locking in more forward sales for next year’s crop than traders were expecting, a sign that supplies from the current harvest are beginning to ebb. The outlook for tighter supplies marks a shift for the market that’s been suffering from a global surplus. The overhang pushed prices down 32% over the past 12 months, helping to lower some retail costs for chocolate. The treats may not stay cheap for long, at least that’s what hedge funds are signalling. Money managers have backed away from their bearish cocoa bets for three straight weeks, US government data shows. Bloomberg

Graphics: Naveen Kumar Saini/Mint

Cement production falls marginally in FY17

While cement demand has recovered from the adverse impact of demonetization, cement production growth has deteriorated, although marginally. According to rating agency Icra Ltd, during FY17, cement production registered a decline of 1% to 279.8 million tonnes (mt) compared to 283.2 mt in FY16. Quarter-wise, cement production grew 5.7% and 3.3% during Q1 FY17 and Q2 FY17, respectively, on a year-on-year basis. However, in Q3 FY17 it reported a decline of 0.8% year-on-year. The steepest decline in cement production was during Q4 FY17, a fall of 11.6% year-on-year. This was on account of demonetization along with the high base during the year-ago period, said Icra.

Japan struggling to find enough workers

India may be struggling to create a sufficient number of jobs for its workforce. But Japan is facing a different problem. The country is struggling to find enough applicants for the available jobs. Latest data says that Japan’s jobs to applicants ratio hit its highest level in more than 43 years in April. According to reports, the jobs to applicants ratio rose to 1.48 in April from 1.45 a month earlier. This means there were 148 jobs available for every 100 applicants. According to Reuters, the last time labour demand was this strong was in February 1974.

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