Orange Juice Jumps Most in 16 Months on Florida Hurricane Threat

Updated on
  • Crop seen facing moderate to severe damage from Hurricane Irma
  • Southeast cotton, damaged by Hurricane Harvey, seen vulnerable

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Orange juice jumped the most in 16 months and cotton futures surged as Hurricane Irma topped storm scales and remained on track to reach the U.S. later this week, threatening crops in southern states.

Orange juice for November delivery jumped 6.2 percent to settle at $1.45 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since May 2, 2016. Cotton for December delivery climbed by the exchange limit of 3 cents, or 4.2 percent, to 74.88 cents a pound, the largest increase since July 12, 2016. Aggregate trading for both commodities more than doubled compared with 100-day averages, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Florida, the nation’s top orange producer, has declared a state of emergency as Irma approaches the Caribbean. All of the state’s crop is at risk of moderate to severe damage, with trees already full of fruit, Donald Keeney, a meteorologist at MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said in a telephone interview.

The Sunshine State is also the biggest U.S. sugar producer. Cane crops there may be knocked down and lose sugar content from heavy rains, Keeney said.

Cotton areas around the Gulf Coast are struggling to recover from flooded fields caused by Hurricane Harvey. Cotton surged 5.5 percent last week after Harvey wreaked havoc in parts of Texas and growing regions around the Mississippi Delta. Crops in parts of Georgia and South Carolina will be at risk of yield losses from Irma, according to MDA.

While most models show Irma approaching Cuba and moving into Florida starting Sept. 8, its track may shift before it makes landfall.

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— With assistance by Javier Blas, and Abigail Morris

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