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Coffee May Surge 40% on Frost After Kraft Raises Prices

Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee grower, is facing the risk of frost after hail this month, raising the prospect of a 40 percent jump in bean costs after Kraft Foods Inc. and J.M. Smucker Co. already increased prices.

The chance of frost in Brazil increased with the weakening of La Nina, a cooling of waters in the Pacific Ocean, Brazil’s Somar Meteorologia said this week. Frost in 1994 damaged 35 percent of the crop by 1997, sending prices up 39 percent that year, according to Somar. Should cold weather damage trees this year, coffee may rise to a record $4.20 a pound, the median in a Bloomberg survey of 11 analysts, traders and investors.