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Orange Juice Drops as Steger Releases Florida Crop Estimate

Orange-juice futures fell after independent forecaster Elizabeth Steger said the orange crop in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower, will be bigger next year.

The state’s output in the season starting Oct. 1 may rise to 156.7 million boxes, according to Steger, the founder of Citrus Consulting International in Kissimmee, Florida. In the previous year, production reached 146.5 million boxes, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The agency will release its first projection for the next crop on Oct. 11. One box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms.

“The figure did put some pressure on the market,” Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Orange juice for November delivery declined 1.2 percent to settle $1.0805 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices have tumbled 36 percent in 2012.

About 4,634 contracts were traded today, the most since June 22. Prices climbed as much as 5.8 percent and tumbled as much as 5 percent.

Traders expected “between 145 million and 160 million boxes,” Michael McDougall, a senior vice president at Newedge Group in New York, said in an e-mail.

“Steger’s numbers are highly regarded,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc.’s institutional client group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

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