Coffee Rises on Crop Disease; Cotton Gains for Sixth Day

Coffee prices rose for the fourth time in a week on concern that a plant fungus will worsen and damage more crops in Latin America. Sugar, orange juice, cocoa and cotton also advanced.

Coffee-leaf rust, the crop disease that is reducing harvests in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras this year, will continue to spread through Central America and Mexico, Stefan Uhlenbrock, a senior analyst with Germany-based F.O. Licht GmbH, said today. Through yesterday, prices climbed 5.2 percent since reaching a 30-month low on Dec. 31.

“Anything that’s going to hurt supply is going to push prices higher,” Michael Smith, the president of Florida-based T&K Futures and Options Inc., said in a telephone interview. The disease “can be very hard to contain, ” he said. “Getting fungicide up to plants can be very burdensome, so it’s very bullish for coffee.”

Arabica coffee for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to settle at $1.504 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Prices fell 4.9 percent yesterday, the biggest drop since July 24, on signs of rising exports from Latin America.

In Costa Rica, the fungus could damage as much as 50 percent of the nation’s crop, attacking foliage and thriving in higher temperatures, according to the government.

Raw-sugar futures for March delivery gained 2.1 percent to 18.5 cents a pound in New York, the first advance since Jan. 11.

Orange-juice futures for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1.156 a pound on ICE, the fifth straight increase. Cocoa futures for March delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $2,215 a metric ton on ICE.

Cotton futures for March delivery gained 0.7 percent to 80.48 cents a pound, capping a six-session advance that is the longest since March. Cotton still is down 19 percent in the past 12 months on concern that rising output in China would cut imports and expand a global surplus.

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