U.S. consumers are poised to pay the most ever for their breakfast orange juice as inventories dwindle.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows that retail orange-juice prices have climbed to the highest level since reaching a record in March 2009. Stockpiles of the frozen beverage slid 40 percent in the 12 months through May, the most recent government data show. Adverse weather in Florida, the world’s biggest citrus grower after Brazil, means that supplies may be further eroded, said Jimmy Tintle, an analyst at Transworld Futures.
“Retail prices will be hitting records by winter time,” Tintle, who correctly predicted an orange-juice rally in December, said by telephone from Tampa, Florida. “We’ll still have a rally into next year and production will be down.”
The retail price of concentrated orange juice reached $5.0645 a pound on May 31, the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show. The record is $5.0703.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday lowered its outlook for Florida’s crop by 0.7 percent, estimating that 139 million boxes will be picked in the harvest that began in October and finishes this month. The state’s driest spring in a decade coupled with unusually warm weather has damaged groves, said Dale Mohler, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. A box weighs 90 pounds (41 kilograms).
“Inventories in both Florida and Brazil are at very low levels,” Bob Norberg, deputy executive director for research and operations for the Florida Department of Citrus, said in an e-mail. “It would not be surprising to have prices continue to be strong.”
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