Ivory Coast to review 2017 budget amid slump in cocoa prices

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, will revise its budget for 2017 after prices for the beans dropped by a third since the middle of last year, according to a government official.

While the slump in cocoa prices weighs on income, the West African nation also has to provide for new expenditures, government spokesman Bruno Kone said by phone.

Ivory Coast’s “resources are largely sufficient to face these expenses despite a drop in cocoa prices,” Kone said. “It’s a significant drop but won’t throw the country’s finances off balance. There’s nothing catastrophic.” He didn’t elaborate.

 Cocoa prices have dropped near the lowest in more than three years, threatening the pace of expansion in Africa’s fastest-growing economy. The government took on additional expenses in January by agreeing to pay bonuses of almost $20,000 to soldiers to quell a mutiny.

The International Monetary Fund is due to visit later this month for a review of reforms under a $670 million extended credit facility agreed in December. Ivory Coast targeted a budget deficit of 3.4 percent in 2017, from 3.8 percent last year, the government said in September.