Cocoa prices jumped to their highest levels in 46 years on the Intercontinental Stock Exchange in London, as bad weather in West Africa threatens production prospects for the main producers of the basic ingredient in making chocolate.

The benchmark September contract for cocoa in London rose more than 2 percent on Wednesday to 2,590 pounds per ton, reports Al-Rai daily quoting AFP.

Prices are rising due to a lack of supply in the market for cocoa beans, most of which are produced in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The volume of cocoa shipments entering Côte d’Ivoire’s ports for export has fallen around 5 percent this season.

The International Cocoa Organization this month raised its forecast for a shortfall in global cocoa supplies from about 60,000 tonnes to 142,000.

“This is the second consecutive season of supply shortages,” said Leonardo Rossetti, an analyst at Stone X brokerage.

Rossetti added that the inventory-to-consumption ratio, an indicator of the availability of cocoa on the market, is expected to fall to 32.2 percent, its lowest level since the 1984/85 season.

Rainfall above average in Ivory Coast has flooded some cocoa fields, which could hurt the main crop, which begins in October.

New York cocoa prices also rose, with the September contract increasing 2.7 percent to $3,348 a ton, its highest level in seven and a half years.

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