August 13, 2014 / 9:04 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Asia Cocoa-Butter ratios slip, but prices hold above $8,000 per tonne

* Butter ratios drop as low as 2.40 from 2.50 times last week

* Powder prices unchanged at $1,500-$2,100/T (Adds cocoa technicals)

By Lewa Pardomuan

SINGAPORE, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Cocoa butter ratios, a key indicator of demand, eased in Asia this week after rallies in London futures scared off chocolatiers, while powder prices were stuck in familiar ranges, dealers said on Wednesday.

London cocoa futures have jumped about 17 percent this year on expectations demand will outstrip supply in the current 2013/14 crop year. Butter prices are calculated by multiplying London and New York bean futures by the ratios, which are set by grinders.

Butter ratios were quoted at 2.40 to 2.45 times London futures, down from 2.47 to 2.50 times last week. But the product still fetched at least $8,120 a tonne, higher than about $6,800 in January.

"There are hardly any buyers. The price is still very high for chocolate manufacturers," said a dealer in Singapore. "The market is under a bit of pressure and powder prices are not improving. There's a challenge here."

When processed by grinders, cocoa beans yield roughly equal parts butter, which gives chocolate its melt-in-the-mouth texture, and powder, which is used in cakes, biscuits and drinks.

Powder prices were quoted in a range running from $1,500 to as high as $2,100 a tonne, unchanged from last week. Dealers said it was unlikely buyers would chase powder at prices above $2,000 because of ample stocks.

Cocoa bean prices have risen sharply this year due to speculative buying, causing chocolate makers such as Nestle , Mondelez International, Mars Chocolate North America and Hershey Co to raise chocolate prices in recent months.

Liffe December cocoa futures settled up 6 pounds, or 0.3 percent, at 2,013 pounds per tonne on Tuesday.

Editing by Prateek Chatterjee and Alan Raybould

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