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Cocoa Fall to Lowest in Almost Five Months; Orange Juice Slumps

Cocoa futures fell to the lowest in almost five months on signs of increasing supplies from Ivory Coast, the world’s top producer. Orange juice also declined, while coffee and cotton advanced. Sugar was unchanged.

In the harvest season started Oct. 1, cocoa deliveries to Ivorian ports rose to 595,000 metric tons through Dec. 16, up 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to KnowledgeCharts, a unit of Commodities Risk Analysis. Demand prospects dimmed for commodities, including cocoa used in chocolate, after the U.S. reported consumer confidence fell in December to a five-month low as Americans grew more concerned about the possibility of higher taxes next year.

“Increased cocoa arrivals and talk of perhaps a little less demand” are pushing prices lower, Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an e-mail. There has also been some selling from second-ranked producer Ghana, he said.

Cocoa for March delivery dropped 0.7 percent to settle at $2,312 a ton at 12:06 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after reaching $2,305, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 27. Prices tumbled 5.1 percent over five days, the longest slump since Sept. 13, paring this year’s gain to 9.6 percent.

Equities and most raw materials dropped after budget talks stalled in Washington. The Congressional Budget Office has said that a failure to avert automatic changes, including higher taxes and spending cuts, would probably lead to a recession in the first half next year.

Orange Juice

Also in New York, orange-juice futures for March delivery tumbled 2.8 percent to $1.3425 a pound, extending this year’s slide to 21 percent.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery gained 2.6 percent to $1.466 a pound, rebounding from yeterday’s 30-month low of $1.418. Prices still are down 35 percent in 2012.

Cotton futures for March delivery advanced 0.5 percent to 76.18 cents a pound on ICE, trimming this year’s decline to 17 percent.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery closed unchanged at 19.25 cents a pound on ICE. The sweetener is down 17 percent this year.

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