Gbagbo arrest kickstarts Ivory Coast trading

Marion Dakers
FORMER Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s arrest yesterday and the recent lifting of EU sanctions could mean the world’s biggest cocoa producer can resume exporting as early as next week, some dealers said.

Gbagbo, who lost presidential elections in November but refused to step down, was arrested yesterday after forces of his UN-recognised successor, Alassane Ouattara, and French troops advanced on his compound in the city of Abidjan.

Exports of stocks held at Abidjan and San Pedro ports should restart quite quickly as the regions are secure, cocoa dealers said.

A unit of Danish shipping group AP Moller-Maersk hopes to make its first call to Abidjan tomorrow to collect cargo including cocoa, the firm said yesterday. Cocoa futures for July delivery rose 1.2 per cent yesterday, however, as investors remained sceptical that exports would resume so quickly.