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Orange Juice, Sugar, Cotton Drop in New York; Cocoa, Coffee Gain

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Orange-juice futures fell to a two-month low on signs of improving U.S. supplies amid slowing demand. Sugar and cotton slid, while cocoa and coffee rose.

In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, U.S. orange-juice output will rise 4.1 percent to 687,000 metric tons from a year earlier, while demand drops 11 percent, the Department of Agriculture said July 26. Near-normal rainfall means the outlook for Florida’s citrus crop, the nation’s largest, is “in good shape” for the harvest starting Oct. 1, according to MDA Information Systems Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“Florida weather remains generally good,” Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an e-mailed report. “Demand for domestically produced juice remains down from last year.”

Orange juice for September delivery slumped 2 percent to settle at $1.0765 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after reaching $1.0515, the lowest for a most-active contract since May 24.

Stockpiles on Sept. 30 will climb 16 percent to 339,000 tons, the USDA figures show. In the week ended July 24, hedge funds and other speculators more than doubled their net-short position, or bets on a price drop, to 3,027 futures and options, the most bearish since at least 2009, according to government data. The U.S. is the world’s top citrus producer after Brazil.

Also on ICE, raw-sugar futures for October delivery declined 0.4 percent to 22.56 cents a pound. Cotton futures for December delivery retreated 1.1 percent to 70.56 cents a pound.

Cocoa futures for September delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $2,401 a metric ton in New York, the sixth straight gain and the longest rally since July 2011. Earlier, the price reached $2,409, the highest since March 21.

A drought along the coastal areas of southwestern Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, is raising farmers’ concern before the start of the main-crop harvest in October.

“Dry weather issues in West Africa” supported prices, Sterling Smith, a commodity analyst at Citigroup’s institutional client group, said in a telephone interview.

Arabica-coffee futures for September delivery gained 0.1 percent to $1.746 a pound, after sliding to $1.706, the lowest since July 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marvin G. Perez in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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