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Cocoa Rises to Four-Month High; Cotton, Orange Juice Gain

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April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa futures rose to the highest in almost four months on speculation that supplies will remain limited as demand shows signs of improvement. Cotton and orange juice also gained. Coffee and sugar fell.

The harvest in Indonesia, the world’s third-biggest cocoa grower, will be delayed because of prolonged rain, an industry group said April 12. Processing of beans in Europe, the top consuming region, fell 3.9 percent in the first quarter, the Brussels-based European Cocoa Association said today. While the demand drop exceeded the 2.4 percent expected by traders in a Bloomberg survey, the pace of the decline slowed from a 6.2 percent contraction in the previous three months.

“We expect an increase” in cocoa-processor demand during “the second half of the season,” after a likely slide in the first quarter, Rabobank International analysts, led by Luke Chandler, said today in an e-mailed report. “Indonesian export figures have been lackluster, suggesting the harvest may not reach expectations.”

Cocoa for July delivery climbed less than 0.1 percent to settle at $2,317 a metric ton at noon on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached $2,337, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 21.

West African producers are starting to collect the smaller of two annual crops. Slow cocoa purchases from Ghana, the world’s second-biggest grower after Ivory Coast, also added to the price rally yesterday, Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in an e-mailed report.

Cotton futures for July delivery jumped 1.4 percent to 86.65 cents a pound on ICE, snapping a two-day slump.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery advanced 0.2 percent to $1.4845 a pound in New York.

Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.3685 a pound on ICE.

Raw-sugar futures for July delivery dropped 0.4 percent to 17.79 cents a pound in New York.

To contact the reporters on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net; 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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