Tags: orange | juice | commodit | future

Orange Juice Sinks to 19-Month Low as Demand Ebbs

Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012 03:47 PM

Orange-juice futures tumbled to a 19-month low Wednesday on speculation that citrus crops in Florida face no weather threat until the start of the hurricane season in June, amid mounting concern that demand will drop. Cotton rose.

Groves in Florida, the world’s biggest orange grower after Brazil, escaped damage from cold weather during the winter months. The state’s crop is forecast to rise 3.3 percent from last year, the Department of Agriculture said Tuesday. U.S. retailers sold 252.23 million gallons (954.8 million liters) of the beverage since Oct. 1, down 11 percent from a year earlier, the Florida Department of Citrus said on April 2, citing Nielsen Co. data.

“Speculators are running to the doors,” Fain Shaffer, the president of Infinity Trading in Medford, Oregon, said in a telephone interview. “You got a bigger crop in Florida, we’re nowhere near the hurricane season,” and the potential for frost damage is over, he said.

Orange juice for May delivery slumped 3.6 percent to settle at $1.417 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $1.3835, the lowest for a most-active contract since Sept. 9, 2010. Prices have plunged 38 percent from a record $2.2695 on Jan. 23, as concerns eased that a U.S. probe would lead to a ban on imports containing a banned fungicide.

“Demand is now in a steep decline in the U.S.,” John Ortelle, a vice president for Mckeany-Flavell Co., a broker in Oakland, California, said in an e-mail. “The past few years saw orange-juice consumption decline 6 percent to 8 percent,” he said, citing Nielsen data.

Technically, “this market is oversold and should bounce,” Ortelle said. “Most analysts believed the bounce would have occurred around $1.48 to $1.50. Now, they don’t know where the bottom is.”

Cotton futures for July delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to 88.3 cents a pound on ICE.

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Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012 03:47 PM
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