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Orange Juice Extends Rally on Dry Florida Weather; Cocoa Gains

Orange juice gained for the seventh time in eight sessions as dry weather hurts citrus crops already damaged by disease in Florida, the world’s top grower after Brazil. Cocoa rose, while sugar, cotton and coffee fell.

In the past month, rainfall in Florida’s citrus belt has been as low as 5 percent of the average amount, according to MDA Information Systems Inc. The U.S. government will probably reduce its estimate for the state’s crop as a bacterial plant disease known as citrus greening cuts yields, said John Ortelle, a vice president at McKeany-Flavell Co.

“Fruit drop continues to be higher than normal,” Oakland, California-based Ortelle said in an e-mail.

Orange juice for March delivery advanced 1.2 percent to settle at $1.2185 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices have climbed 3.8 percent this year.

On Jan. 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its outlook for Florida’s orange crop by 2.7 percent to 142 million boxes. The agency may lower its forecast to 136 million in its next crop report on Feb. 8, Ortelle said. A box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms.

Also in New York, cocoa futures for March delivery rose 2.5 percent to $2,246 a metric ton, the most since Dec. 12.

In the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, growing regions will get “fairly dry weather,” in the next 10 days, said David Streit, a senior meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group. Shipments from the nation’s Abidjan Port fell 46 percent in December from a year earlier, according to harbor data.

“The dehydration could reduce yields for the mid-crop” that usually starts in April, Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. Younger trees, which are weaker, may be dying because of the lack of water, he said.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery dropped 0.9 percent to 18.56 cents a pound on ICE, while cotton futures for March delivery fell 0.3 percent to 81.51 cents a pound.

Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery slid 0.2 percent to $1.4405 a pound in New York.

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