The NYTimes has an article on Anthony Ward and his attempt to corner the cocoa market. The British news media has amusingly christened him “Chocolatefinger” in homage to the Bond villain Auric Goldfinger:
LONDON — To some, he is a real-life Willy Wonka. To others, he is a Bond-style villain bent on taking over the world’s supply of chocolate.
In a stroke, a hedge fund manager here named Anthony Ward has all but cornered the market in cocoa. By one estimate, he has bought enough to make more than five billion chocolate bars.
Chocolate lovers here are crying into their Cadbury wrappers — and rival traders are crying foul, saying Mr. Ward is stockpiling cocoa in a bid to drive up already high prices so he can sell later at a big profit. His activities have helped drive cocoa prices on the London market to a 30-year high.
Mr. Ward, 50, is not some rabid chocoholic, former employees say. He simply has a head for cocoa. And, through his private investment firm, Armajaro, he now controls a cache equal to 7 percent of annual cocoa production worldwide, a big enough chunk to sway prices.
The article notes that attempts to corner markets come and go in the rough-and-tumble world of commodities trading. During the 1970s, Nelson Hunt and his brother, William, tried but failed to corner the world market in silver. For more on the Hunt brothers, see Silver Thursday: How Two Wealthy Traders Cornered The Market.