The U.S. predicted Wednesday that domestic orange-juice demand will slump to the lowest in at least 30 years, as consumers shift to a wider array of beverages. Meanwhile, futures prices in New York entered a bear market, shrugging off prospects for the smallest Florida crop since 1964.
Domestic demand for the breakfast staple will drop 11 percent to 600,000 tons in the 12 months that started Oct. 1, the lowest since at least 1986, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report after the futures market closed. Orange production will drop 18 percent to 4.8 million tons from a year earlier as citrus-greening disease continues to hurt groves in Florida, the nation’s top grower. The USDA had forecast the state’s harvest will be the smallest in 52 years.