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Orange Juice Caps Longest Rally in 7 Weeks; Cotton, Coffee Gain

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Orange juice rose for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since mid-December, on signs that a disease will reduce fruit crops in Florida. Cotton, coffee and sugar also gained. Cocoa was steady.

The bacterial disease, called citrus greening, has ruined 12 percent of the orange crop in Florida, the world’s top citrus grower after Brazil, according to Shawn Hackett, the president of Hackett Financial Advisors Inc. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its forecast of the state’s harvest twice since October to 142 million boxes, down 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

“It has already been very bad, and it has a long-term tail to it for many more years,” Boynton Beach, Florida-based Hackett said in an e-mail.

Orange juice for March delivery jumped 1.7 percent to settle at $1.2175 a pound at 2:30 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices gained 7.4 percent this week, the most since Dec. 14. The commodity still is down 41 percent from a year earlier, when the citrus greening threatened crops in Texas and limits on Brazilian imports sent futures to a record.

Also in New York, arabica-coffee futures for March delivery advanced 0.7 percent to $1.4795 a pound. An industry group in Honduras, the biggest grower in Central America, yesterday cut its forecast for shipments by 20 percent after a fungus damaged crops.

Cotton futures climbed less than 0.1 percent to 82.98 cents a pound on ICE. Prices surged 10 percent last month, the most since February 2011.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to 18.89 cents a pound in New York, while cocoa futures for March delivery were unchanged at $2,205 a metric ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Renick in Chicago at orenick1@bloomberg.net

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

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