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Cocoa prices reach record highs: Consumers brace for impact



Consumers around the globe could soon feel the pinch as cocoa prices soar to unprecedented levels, driven by a perfect storm of supply shortages and escalating production costs.

  • Unprecedented Cocoa Price Surge: Cocoa prices have skyrocketed to record highs, tripling in the past year and hitting $10,080 per metric ton for May delivery.

  • Severe Supply Shortages: The cocoa market is grappling with its worst supply deficit in decades, driven by production challenges in key regions like Ivory Coast and Ghana, including adverse weather and diseases.

  • Potential Impact on Consumers: Consumers may soon face higher chocolate prices or reduced product sizes (“shrinkflation”) as manufacturers grapple with soaring cocoa costs, potentially altering recipes to contain less cocoa.

The world is grappling with one of the most severe cocoa supply deficits in decades, with farmers in West Africa bearing the brunt of adverse weather conditions, rampant diseases, and aging cocoa trees.

Cocoa futures for May delivery reached an all-time intraday high of $10,080 per metric ton on Tuesday before settling slightly lower at $9,622, marking a staggering 129% increase in 2024 alone.

Over the past year, cocoa costs have more than tripled, placing immense pressure on chocolate manufacturers and raising concerns about the affordability of chocolate products for consumers.

Major players in the chocolate industry, such as Hershey, are implementing hedging strategies to mitigate the volatility in cocoa prices.

However, the National Confectioners Association acknowledges the challenges, stating that the industry is collaborating with retailers to manage costs and prevent significant price hikes for consumers.

Consumers may start to notice increase in chocolate prices.

Further shrinkflation

Analysts warn that despite the efforts to shield consumers from immediate price shocks, the impact of soaring cocoa prices is inevitable.

Paul Joules, a commodities analyst at Rabobank, predicts that consumers may start experiencing higher prices or “shrinkflation,” where chocolate bars decrease in size to offset rising production costs.

Additionally, companies might adjust recipes to use less cocoa in their products, potentially affecting the taste and quality of chocolate, especially in dark chocolate variants.

Disease plague

The surge in cocoa prices is primarily attributed to supply disruptions in key cocoa-producing nations such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, which together contribute to 60% of global cocoa production.

These countries have been plagued by diseases like black pod and swollen shoot virus, coupled with adverse weather conditions exacerbated by phenomena like El Niño and seasonal winds.

Moreover, many cocoa trees in these regions have surpassed their peak productivity, with limited efforts towards replanting since the early 2000s.

As a result, farmers are abandoning cocoa cultivation in favor of more lucrative crops like rubber, further exacerbating the supply crunch.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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AI tracks enigmatic cancers back to origins in new study



In a groundbreaking development, scientists have unveiled a remarkable AI tool that promises to revolutionise the detection and treatment of metastatic cancers.

These elusive cancers often evade detection until they have already spread to distant organs, posing a significant challenge for diagnosis and treatment. Published in Nature Medicine, the study showcases an AI model developed by researchers at Tianjin Medical University (TMU) in China, led by Tian Fei and Li Xiangchun. Trained on a vast dataset of 30,000 images from 21,000 individuals, the AI model demonstrated an unprecedented accuracy rate of 83% in identifying the origins of metastatic cancer cells found in fluid samples from abdominal or lung regions.

Impressively, the model’s top three predictions included the tumour’s source with a staggering 99% accuracy.

This breakthrough not only surpasses the capabilities of human pathologists but also offers a beacon of hope for the 300,000 people annually diagnosed with cancer at TMU-affiliated hospitals, where approximately 4,000 cases rely on such image-based diagnoses.

By significantly reducing the need for invasive tests and providing timely and accurate predictions, this AI tool could potentially extend the lives of late-stage cancer patients. Faisal Mahmood of Harvard Medical School praises the study’s findings, highlighting the potential of AI as an indispensable assistive tool in healthcare.

Looking ahead, the integration of AI with tissue samples and genomic data holds the promise of further enhancing outcomes for individuals battling metastatic cancers of unknown origins, ushering in a new era of precision medicine and personalised care.

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Surprising Netflix subscriber surge despite price hikes



Netflix Surpasses Expectations with 9.33 Million New Subscribers in Q1 2024

Netflix stunned analysts and the industry alike with its first-quarter 2024 earnings report, revealing a remarkable surge of 9.33 million paid subscribers, soaring past the anticipated 3.93 million additions and bringing its total subscriber count to an impressive 269.60 million.

This surge follows a record-breaking fourth quarter of 2023, where Netflix added 13.1 million subscribers. Despite this remarkable growth streak, Netflix announced it would cease reporting quarterly subscriber totals from 2025 onward, signalling a significant shift in industry dynamics. Notable contributors to this growth included high-profile releases like the live-action adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “3 Body Problem” by the show-runners behind “Game of Thrones.”

Regionally, the U.S. and Canada saw a growth of 2.53 million paid subscribers, while Europe, the Middle East, and Africa added 2.92 million, Latin America saw an increase of 1.72 million, and the Asia-Pacific market experienced a rise of 2.16 million.

Alongside surpassing subscriber expectations, Netflix exceeded financial projections, reporting a 15% increase in revenue from Q1 2023, with diluted earnings per share of $5.28 on $9.37 billion in revenue.

Looking ahead, Netflix forecasts robust financial performance for Q2, with expectations of $9.49 billion in revenue and diluted EPS of $4.68, aiming for revenue growth of 13% to 15% for the full year 2024, reflecting a bullish outlook on its operational margin.


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Why are Americans moving abroad?



Inflation and the rising cost of living in the United States is motivating Americans to consider moving to other countries.

Have you ever dreamed of working or retiring abroad?

Well, more and more Americans are discovering that their income can stretch much further in other countries, allowing them to save more, pay off debts, and even get ahead financially.

Kelli Maria Korduck a contributor with Business Insider joins Veronica Dudo to discuss why Americans are deciding that the only way to get ahead is to leave.

#IN AMERICA TODAY #featured #livingabroad #movingabroad #inflation #travel

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