Moody’s has clashed with the UN after putting five countries on review for a downgrade in recent weeks, saying that a G20-backed debt suspension scheme poses risks to private creditors, the Financial Times reported. The rating agency took action against Ethiopia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Senegal and the Ivory Coast, after the countries opted into a G20-backed initiative that allows them to freeze official bilateral debt repayments due this year to member nations and members of the Paris Club, a group representing major credit countries.
Domestic Ivorian cocoa exporters fear going bankrupt because they cannot compete with the higher prices multinational companies are paying for beans, the Ivory Coast’s traders association (GNI) told Reuters, Reuters reported. Western chocolate companies such as Lindt, Hershey and Ferrero pay a premium for sustainable cocoa made with fair trade certification, buying mainly from multinational companies such as Cargill, Olam and Barry Callebaut.
Ivorian banks saddled with unpaid debts of around $250 million by the bankruptcy of former top exporter SAF-Cacao are pleased with progress after the acquisition of its assets by Societe Agricole du Cafe-Cacao (SACC), sources at the banks said, Reuters reported. SAF-Cacao, formerly the largest cocoa exporter in southwestern Ivory Coast, was liquidated in mid-2018 after defaulting on debt in the wake of a disastrous 2016/17 season, when world cocoa prices fell 40%.
Top cocoa producer Ivory Coast has averted defaults on export contracts this season by letting multinational commodities companies buy at-risk contracts from local exporters, exporters and sources at the cocoa regulator said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. During the 2017/18 and 2016/17 growing seasons, exporters defaulted on nearly 500,00 tonnes of cocoa contracts they had bought in advance of the season as world market prices fell and exporters were unable to honour commitments to suppliers.
More small cocoa exporters in Ivory Coast were unable to fulfill their international contracts at the end of last year, and sources at the country’s cocoa board told Reuters that this group asked to postpone 70 percent of October-to-December commitments due to a lack of financing, Reuters reported. Each year, the cocoa board of top grower Ivory Coast (CCC) sells forward most of its expected harvest, a portion of which is allocated to small exporters. In October through December, small exporters were allocated contracts amounting to 180,000 tonnes of cocoa.
The liquidator of Saf-Cacao, formerly one of Ivory Coast’s biggest cocoa exporters, accepted a new bid for the shipper from a company headed by the mayor of the second-largest city, according to two people familiar with the matter. Liquidator Alain Guillemain approved Saf-Cacao’s sale to Societe Agricole du Cafe-Cacao in a 145 billion CFA francs ($250 million) deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, Bloomberg News reported.
The liquidation of Saf-Cacao, one of Ivory Coast’s biggest cocoa exporters, has stalled after the favored bidder for the company’s assets failed to make a first payment, according to people familiar with the matter. Last month, liquidator Alain Guillemain approved the sale of Saf-Cacao to a unit of Prime Group of Companies in a 170 billion CFA francs ($296 million) deal after considering two final bids for the shipper’s assets, people familiar with the situation said at the time, Bloomberg News reported.