Industry alarmed by Gbagbo grab at Ivorian cocoa

March 8, 2011 18:13

ABIDJAN - A move by Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo to take the cocoa sector into state hands triggered alarm on Tuesday as industry officials feared a huge financial hit if it meant their stocks in country would be seized.

Exporters said they were seeking urgent clarification on whether a late-night decree issued on Monday covered 475,000 tonnes of unexported beans in storage since a power struggle strangled supplies from the world's top grower.

"If it doesn't affect our existing stocks it could be less dramatic. But if it does, it is a catastrophe," said one Ivorian sector source, who like others declined to be named on security and commercial grounds.

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