The Ebola virus has been in the news quite a bit over the past month and although some were initially reluctant to believe it could happen because it “wasn’t in the charts,” the Ebola scare has had an impact on some corners of financial markets.
In fact, some folks in the Twittersphere derided an ETF Trends story published last month that indicated Ebola could affect the iPath DJ-UBS Cocoa TR Sub-Index ETN (NYSEArca: NIB) and the iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN (NYSEArca: CHOC).
Of course, that criticism was ignorant to the fact that Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, shares a poorly monitored border with Liberia and Guinea, two countries that have been dealing with Ebola outbreaks. Interestingly, several credible news organizations have since published articles on Ebola and the potential the deadly virus has to impact global chocolate demand.
Another exchange traded product has been stung by Ebola and it is one that might catch some investors by surprise. The iShares MSCI Switzerland Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWL), the largest Switzerland ETF, is off 4% since we published our piece on Ebola potentially damaging African cocoa crops. This is not a coincidence, nor is it coincidental that chocolate lovers may be paying more for Nestle Crunch and KitKat bars these days.
Speaking of Nestle (OTC: NSRGY), the world’s largest publicly traded food maker, “bearish (options) contracts on the maker of Baby Ruth bars cost the most relative to bullish ones in more than a year” while “hedge funds have raised bets that cocoa will soar even more after it completed the longest series of monthly gains in 12 years,” reports Sofia Horta e Costa for Bloomberg.