Coffee Futures Gain on

Arabica coffee gained the most in four sessions on mounting concern that a crop disease will curb output in Central America. Orange juice also rose, while sugar fell.

Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica will have smaller coffee crops this year after an outbreak of leaf rust, a fungus that attacks foliage. In the week ended Jan. 8, money managers and speculators cut bearish bets to 22,321 futures and options from 23,153 a week earlier, government data showed. The commodity, which sank 37 percent in 2012, has risen 8.1 percent this year.

“We continue to make strides to higher prices on fears of the leaf rust,” Hector Galvan, a senior broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in an e-mail. “This may be the catalyst to draw coffee out of its large downtrend should we see more bleak news.”

Arabica coffee for March delivery jumped 1.6 percent to settle at $1.555 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest gain since Jan. 11.

Also in New York, orange-juice futures for delivery in March rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.1235 a pound.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery dropped 0.2 percent to 18.42 cents a pound on ICE, the fourth straight decline and the longest slump since mid-October.

The sweetener is likely to fall to 17 cents in the second quarter, with the average for the three-month period estimated at 17.5 cents amid excess supplies, Kona Haque, an analyst with Macquarie Group Ltd., said in a conference call from London.

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