Orange-juice futures surged to a three-year high on concern that adverse weather will cause more damage to the crop in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower. Cotton prices fell.
Colder air is expected to cross Florida sometime next week, said Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist at Rockville, Maryland-based MDA EarthSat Weather. Last week’s frost conditions may have caused “significant damage,” the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association said on Dec. 30. The group accounts for 13 percent of Florida’s crop.
“The cooler conditions have set in much earlier than usual, and there is no letup,” said Mark Julias, a senior strategist at Lind-Waldock, a broker in Chicago. “It looks like there is more trouble to follow.”
Orange juice for March delivery jumped 8.25 cents, or 5 percent, to settle at $1.718 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest gain since Sept. 21. Earlier, the most-active contract soared by the exchange limit of 10 cents to $1.7355, the highest since May 9, 2007.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 12 may cut a “couple million boxes” of oranges from its annual projection, Ray Royce, the executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, said today in a telephone interview.
“We are already seeing some fruit hit the ground,” Royce said. “We are also expecting some juice loss.”
Futures climbed 27 percent last year, partly as adverse weather threatened crops in the U.S. and Brazil, the largest grower. On Dec. 13, Florida declared a state of emergency amid severe cold and prospects of crop damage.
Cotton futures for March delivery fell 2.61 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $1.422 a pound. The prices surged 92 percent last year, the biggest annual gain since 1973, as adverse weather damaged global crops and demand surged in China, the world’s biggest user.
In 2010, cotton led gains among the 19 raw materials in the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index.
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