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Orange-Juice Futures Gain on Florida Crop Concern; Cotton Rises

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Orange-juice futures advanced on mounting concerns that dry weather may damage Florida trees already suffering from a crop disease. Cotton, cocoa and sugar also gained, while coffee fell.

Orange output in Florida, the world’s second-biggest grower, may drop to as low as 136.5 million boxes, as a lack of moisture becomes more of a problem in the state’s Citrus Belt, Arthur Liming, a Chicago-based vice president at Citigroup Inc., said yesterday. On March 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its estimate for the Florida crop by 1.4 percent to 139 million boxes amid citrus greening, a bacterial disease.

“The problems with the crop have been a game changer this season, with the view having gone from optimism about the size of the harvest to one of despair,” Judy Ganes-Chase, the president at Panama City, Panama-based J. Ganes Consulting LLC, said in an e-mailed report yesterday.

Orange juice for delivery in May rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1.3965 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached $1.399, the highest since March 13.

Also in New York, cotton futures for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to 91.13 cents a pound. Volume for this time of day was 48 percent below the 100-day average.

Cocoa futures for May delivery jumped 0.5 percent to $2,099 a metric ton on ICE. Raw-sugar futures for May delivery added 0.1 percent to 18.31 cents a pound in New York.

Arabica-coffee futures for delivery in May dropped 0.9 percent to $1.331 a pound on ICE. The premium for arabica beans versus robusta traded on NYSE Liffe in London fell 0.8 percent to 35.35 cents a pound, the lowest since Dec. 15, 2008.

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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