Cotton Falls as Plantings May Gain; Orange Juice Declines

Cotton fell, snapping a two-day rally, after the government said U.S. farmers will plant more than forecast in February. Orange-juice futures also dropped, while cocoa and coffee gained.

About 10.026 million acres of cotton will be planted this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report based on a survey of growers. While that’s down 19 percent from 12.315 million in 2012, it was higher than the government’s Feb. 22 forecast of 10 million acres. Farmers are shifting to more profitable crops, including corn and soybeans, which plunged in price today after the USDA issued a stockpile report.

“With those markets being down, that means you’ve got plenty of time for cotton to gain more acres,” Sharon Johnson, a senior market specialist at Knight Futures in Roswell, Georgia, said in an e-mail.

Cotton for delivery in May slid 0.1 percent to settle at 88.46 cents a pound at 2:30 p.m. on ICE U.S. Futures in New York, after rising as much as 2 percent to 90.27 cents. Prices gained 2.2 percent in the previous two days, and ended the quarter up 18 percent, the biggest such increase in two years.

Orange-juice futures for May delivery dropped 1.4 percent to $1.3515 a pound on ICE. Prices still are up 15 percent this year, the biggest quarterly advance since 2009.

Cocoa futures for May delivery advanced 0.9 percent to close at $2,170 a metric ton on ICE. The price slid 3 percent this year. Arabica-coffee futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1.3715 a pound. The price fell 4.2 percent in March, the fifth decline in six months.

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