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Cocoa Halts Longest Rally in 3 Years; Cotton, Orange Juice Drop

Cocoa declined, halting the longest rally in more than three years, on bets that global supplies will be ample even amid political unrest in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer. Cotton and orange juice dropped.

Ghana, the second-biggest cocoa producer, purchased more beans from farmers this season as better weather and increased use of pesticide and fertilizer boosted the crop. Prices have jumped 17 percent since a Nov. 28 election in Ivory Coast, when President Laurent Gbagbo refused to yield power to President-elect Alassane Ouattara.

“The odds don’t favor this being anything other than a short-term problem,” said Shawn Hackett, the president of Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida. “Enough people are starting to realize that things are going to calm down.”

Cocoa for March delivery fell $81, or 2.4 percent, to settle at $3,277 a metric ton at 12:01 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, snapping nine straight gains, the longest rally since September 2007. The price climbed for the third week in a row, up 2.9 percent.

In London, cocoa futures for March delivery fell 36 pounds, or 1.6 percent, to 2,164 pounds ($3,431) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

The Ivory Coast’s elected president banned bean exports from Jan. 23 to Feb. 23. Jeannot Ahoussou, Ouattara’s justice minister, said the country’s shippers risk sanctions if they pay export taxes to the industry body controlled by Gbagbo, after the ban was announced Jan. 21.

About 80 percent of Ivory Coast’s exporters are respecting the call for the suspension of shipments for a month, according to the administration.

Ghana Harvest

Ghana bought 643,000 tons of beans from farmers this season. The amount for the 15 weeks to Jan. 13 was higher than the last crop period, according to the Ghana Cocoa Board, which declined to provide comparative figures.

Cotton futures for March delivery fell 4.64 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $1.6475 a pound on ICE, amid protests in Egypt. The price touched a record $1.7283 yesterday.

Equities worldwide plunged as Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak imposed a nationwide curfew today after protests intensified.

“The violence in Egypt is spooking investors,” said Keith Brown, the president of Keith Brown & Co., a brokerage in Moultrie, Georgia. “There is some end-of-the-week profit taking.”

Orange-juice futures for March delivery dropped 1.15 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $1.659 a pound in New York. Prices have declined for six straight sessions, the longest slump since March.

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