KANSAS CITY — North American cocoa bean grind in the first quarter of 2014 totaled 129,007 tonnes, up 1% from the same period in 2013, the National Confectioners Association said April 17.

The grind total was at the low end of trade expectations, which called for an increase of 1% to 5% for the quarter. Cocoa grind is seen as an indication of consumer demand for chocolate.

New York cocoa bean futures prices advanced ahead of the report Thursday with all contracts closing above the benchmark $3,000 per tonne level. Futures markets are closed April 18 in observance of Good Friday.

The European Cocoa Association earlier reported first-quarter cocoa bean grind by its members at 340,735 tonnes, up only 0.4% from a year earlier and below trade expectations.

Asian first-quarter cocoa bean grind, though, was reported this week at 159,617 tonnes, up about 4% from a year ago.