A British financier who dramatically cornered a huge chunk of the world’s cocoa supply has been dubbed ‘Choc Finger’ by City traders.
Anthony Ward, 50, who has amassed a £36 million fortune, is a real-life Willy Wonka and now owns enough beans to manufacture 5.3 billion quarter-pound chocolate bars.
The holding is so massive it threatens to force manufacturers to raise the price of some of Britain’s most popular chocolate.
Yes, he’s a dirty, filthy, lucre seeking speculator.
Interested in nothing but using money to make more money.
So, let us think of what his attempt to corner the market will actually mean out there in the real world.
He’s actually taken delivery of his 240,000 odd tonnes of beans. They are now in storage. Not all that surprisingly, the price of cocoa beans has therefore risen. This means that all of those poor cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast, Ghana and so on will now be receiving more money for their next harvest. The poor get richer. Excellent, don’t you think?
There will also be more effort put into increasing the size of the next crop. So there will be more cocoa for us all to enjoy in the future. How lovely!
Further, given the rise in cocoa prices it’s likely that the price of chocolate will rise. This will, other things being equal, lead to a fall in consumption. Given the obesity epidemic this is a result to be welcomed: just think of all the money that the NHS won’t now have to pay out to treat chocoholics!
But there’s more! By attempting a corner Ward is setting off exactly the chain of events which will, in time, make the corner fail. The rise in prices will lead to more production and less consumption: whether or not he makes money depends upon whether he can get out of his corner position before these effects are felt across a series of harvests and shrinking waistlines.
So, by being a fatcat bastard City financier, playing with money to make money, Ward makes the poor richer there and the poor healthier here: plus saves taxpayers’ cash into the bargain.
Time for a knighthood don’t you think?