07/16/2010 09:56 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Armajaro Cocoa Investments Driving Up Already-Rising Chocolate Prices

A London hedge fund has swept up a large chunk of the world's stocks of cocoa beans, helping to drive prices of the basic ingredient of chocolate to their highest level in 33 years.

Traders said that Armajaro, which runs several commodities funds, took delivery on Friday of 240,100 tonnes of cocoa, the biggest delivery from London's Liffe exchange since 1996 and equal to about 7 per cent of annual global production.

Armajaro's bold bet on higher prices comes as cocoa prices have risen 150 per cent over the past two-and-a-half years, prompting recession-hit chocolate makers to reduce the size of their bars and increase prices.

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