Anthony Ward, a British financier who set up hedge fund Armajaro Holdings, bought a huge chunk of chocolate on Friday.
To be precise, he spent over £650 million buying 241,000 tonnes of cocoa beans.
This was the highest single purchase of cocoa for nearly 15 years and happened as cocoa bean prices rose to their highest level for 23 years. On news of the purchase cocoa futures for July delivery jumped by 1.5%.
The trade took place on Liffe (the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange), a market which trades contracts in commodities such as sugar, coffee and cocoa.
As well as the sheer size of the transaction the strange thing about it was that Mr. Ward’s company has actually taken delivery of the cocoa. This is very unusual as the vast majority of cocoa transactions normally involve traders exchanging option or futures contracts without actually taking possession of the beans.
So why has he purchased so much chocolate?
He’s a very astute and wealthy businessman who reportedly lives in a £10 million house in Mayfair, London.
The speculation is that he is stockpiling huge volumes of cocoa in order to be in a strong negotiating position. Harvests in the cocoa heartlands of Ghana and Ivory Coast have recently been weak and there is an increase in demand for chocolate in the Chinese and Indian markets.
It looks like chocolate prices are on the rise so what better excuse for me to stock up on some chocolate before the price rises. Somehow though I don’t think my stockpile will be anywhere near Mr. Wards…