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Orange Juice Climbs to One-month High; Cocoa, Sugar Gain

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Orange-juice futures jumped to a one-month high on concern that dry weather and a crop disease will trim output in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower. Cocoa and sugar also gained. Cotton and coffee slid.

Florida’s temperatures will be higher than normal in the first half of February, and may cause fruit to spoil and drop from trees, according to Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MDA Information Systems Inc. On Jan. 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its forecast for the state’s crop for the second time since October after citrus greening, a bacterial disease, hampered groves.

The USDA “might be forced to trim the estimate a little more next month,” Jack Scoville, a vice president for Price Futures Group, said in an e-mailed report. The agency will update its estimate on Feb. 8.

Orange juice for March delivery advanced 0.3 percent to settle at $1.197 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the fifth straight rise. Earlier, the commodity reached $1.232, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 31. The price added 2 percent this month, the first increase since November. Brazil is the biggest orange grower.

Also in New York, cocoa futures for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to $2,205 a metric ton, paring the monthly decline to 1.4 percent.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to 18.78 cents a pound, the highest closing price in more than two weeks. The contract still fell 3.7 percent in the month.

Cotton futures for March delivery slid less than 0.1 percent to 82.95 cents a pound on ICE. The commodity rose 10 percent this month, the biggest gain in almost two years.

In the week ended Jan. 22, hedge funds boosted bullish bets by 67 percent to the highest since February 2011, government data showed.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $1.4695 a pound on ICE. Futures added 2.2 percent this month, the first increase since September.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marvin G. Perez in New York at mperez71@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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