Commodities: Getting Thin on Chocolate

Torrential rains, international intrigue, civil war, witchcraft — and who knows what else in the lush jungles of West Africa and Brazil — are leaving their mark on the tons of chocolate candy that Americans will consume over the holidays. As a result of hikes in the price of one of the world's most erratic commodities, cocoa, U.S. candymakers are thinning their chocolate coatings and shaving the weight of their chocolate bars.

Earlier this month, the price of cocoa futures on the New York Cocoa Ex change hit a ten-year high of 47¢ a lb., up about 75% from...

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