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Confectioners find cocoa prices difficult to swallow

The rising price of cocoa may leave a bitter taste in chocoholics' mouths as it forces some confectioners to push up their prices.

The rising price of cocoa may leave a bitter taste in chocoholics' mouths as it forces some confectioners to push up their prices. The price of cocoa on the London exchange hit 2,352 a tonne yesterday in early trade. The cost of the commodity had been on the rise for two years, then fell slightly this year before its recent increase. Bernard Charles, the production manager at Dubai-based Bateel, which makes gourmet chocolates, said it was forced to raise its prices between 10 and 30 per cent about a month ago.

"It's having some serious impact on the production," Mr Charles said. "Because the price is going up for us, we also have to increase the price for the customer. "Last year, we didn't raise our price and this year we cannot continue to afford losing." Cocoa makes up a large part of high-quality chocolate, and even a minor fluctuation in the prices has a big effect, said Ravi Jangid, a director at La Ronda, a Dubai-based maker of chocolate-covered dates and other confectionery.

"Even a small impact [on cocoa price] of 10 per cent will result in 30 to 40 per cent on product pricing," Mr Jangid said. "So it reduces our margin." He expected the market prices to ease based on crop indications. aligaya@thenational.ae

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