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Orange-Juice Futures Gain on Florida Frost Concerns

Orange-juice futures posted the biggest gain in almost five weeks on speculation that unusually cold weather may harm groves in Florida, the world’s second-largest citrus grower. Coffee also rose, while cocoa slid.

Florida’s falling temperatures may produce frost from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist at MDA Information Systems Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said in an e-mail. On Jan. 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its forecast for the orange crop by 2.7 percent. The price has dropped 39 percent in the past 12 months amid slowing demand and ample supplies.

“The possibility of frost seems to be all that is preventing a sharper drop in prices,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a report.

Orange juice for March delivery jumped 1.8 percent to settle at $1.123 a pound at 1:42 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Dec. 13.

Brazil’s is the world’s biggest orange grower.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1.53 a pound in New York.

Cocoa futures for March delivery slid 0.6 percent to $2,256 a metric ton.

Tomorrow, the Washington-based National Confectioners Association will release fourth-quarter data for North America’s grindings, a measure of demand.

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