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Anthony Ward Buys Up All The Cocoa Beans

Last week Anthony Ward, manager of the hedge fund Armajaro Holdings, made a big bet on the rising price of chocolate by picking up about $1 billion worth of cocoa beans. And in a departure from business as usual, where traders simply trade the rights to buy or sell commodities at a certain price in the future, Ward had all 240,000 tons physically delivered to Armajaro.

Well, as many as he could get at least

Cacao Beans - Blommer Chocoalte

[Blommer Chocolate -A conveyor belt of cocoa beans feeds the factory]

Last week Anthony Ward, manager of the hedge fund Armajaro Holdings, made a big bet on the rising price of chocolate by picking up about $1 billion worth of cocoa beans. And in a departure from business as usual, where traders simply trade the rights to buy or sell commodities at a certain price in the future, Ward had all 240,000 tons physically delivered to Armajaro.

Issouf Sanogo, AFP / Getty Images Anthony Ward, manager of the hedge fund Armajaro Holdings, made a big bet on the rising price of chocolate by picking up about $1 billion worth of cocoa beans.Representing the largest delivery of the product in 14 years, it was a stunning move — yet one in keeping with the money man the British press has dubbed “Choc Finger,” after the Bond villain Goldfinger.

World chocolate prices have more than doubled in the past two years, and poor harvests in Ghana and the Ivory Coast have further squeezed supply. Some analysts now worry that Ward’s purchase is an attempt to gain enough power to manipulate the market.

“If it looks like cornering, feels like cornering, it probably is cornering,” Eugen Weinberg, an analyst with German financial institution Commerzbank, told the Telegraph.

Some have noted that Ward made a tidy profit off poor African cocoa bean harvests in 2006 with a similar deal, clearing about $60 million off a purchase of 200,000 tons.

(click to continue reading British Hedge Fund Manager Anthony Ward Buys Up $1 Billion Worth of Cocoa Beans.)

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