Cocoa futures fell the most in two weeks on concern that persistent debt woes will erode demand in Europe, the world’s biggest chocolate consumer. Sugar and orange juice also slid, while coffee and cotton advanced.
Italy’s equities and bonds fell on an election deadlock, and the cost of insuring the nation’s debt against default climbed to the highest in 2013. Europe is heading for a second straight year of recession.
“With Europe being such a large consumer of chocolate, problems there are going to take any bullish ideas off the table for the time being” for cocoa, Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Cocoa for May delivery fell 1.4 percent to $2,112 a metric ton at 11:23 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. A close at that price would mark the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Feb. 11.
Raw-sugar futures for May delivery slid 0.6 percent to 17.98 cents a pound.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery slumped 2.1 percent to $1.27 a pound, heading for the first decline in a week.
Through yesterday, the price gained 11 percent this year. Florida’s citrus belt will get below-normal temperatures for two weeks starting today, potentially threatening crops, according to MDA Information Systems Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Brazil is the largest orange grower, followed by Florida.
Coffee futures for May delivery gained 0.6 percent to $1.439 a pound.
Cotton futures for May delivery advanced 0.1 percent to 81.81 cents a pound.
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