3rd May 2013

Dear Members,

This is my first year chairing the association. I am honoured to be nominated and would like to take the opportunity to thank the previous chairman Mr Yeong Chye, in spearheading our efforts to promote interactions amongst all those involved in the cocoa trade in Asia. With the full support of our members I believe that we will continue to progress and promote the interest of Asia Cocoa Community.

Last year saw a sharp decline in soft commodity prices from the previous year high and cocoa bean prices were inevitably affected. However, prices have since recovered from the low and have shown signs of recovery recently. Thus, I am optimistic that stable bean prices will potentially lend support to production and boost our sustainability effort.

As part of the on-going effort to a sustainable cocoa development in the region, members continue to support and sponsor the cocoa project in Vietnam. Members visited Vietnam twice and the project is showing progress.

On the product front, butter ratio has dropped to a low of 0.8 times LIFFE and subsequently enjoyed a strong re-bounce to a high of 2 times LIFFE. However, solid prices have continued its down trend and there is no visible sign of recovery till date. Together with the expansion of processing capacity in Indonesia placed immense pressure on the conversion margin.

These developments not only presented the cocoa industry with many challenges but at the same time it also created opportunities for growth and consolidation.

Next, it is encouraging to note that grind figures published by us have received positive feedback and generated much worldwide interest. I am also glad to have the opportunity to welcome CCAJ as our new reciprocal member and trust that having them on-board will further our association leading position in representing the cocoa community in Asia.

I would like to thank you in advance for the unwavering support and involvement; together we will scale greater heights.

Yours sincerely,
Brandon Tay