Orange Juice Drops as Brazilian Forecasts Gets Boost

By Julie WernauFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Frozen concentrated orange juice futures ended in a seventh-straight session of losses on Thursday as bullish traders who have jumped into the market because of tight production in Florida unwound from those bets this week.

Frozen concentrated orange juice for January fell 1% to end at $1.469 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, the lowest close since Sept. 25.

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The fall comes despite Tuesday's update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the orange crop in Florida, which grows the most oranges for U.S. juice and was devastated by Hurricane Irma this year. The agency placed its latest estimate at 46 million boxes, which would be the lowest orange crop since 1945 in Florida.

Bears in the orange juice market are largely focused on Brazil, the world's largest orange grower, which is expected to provide imports for the frozen concentrated orange juice market that will boost supplies in the U.S.

On Monday, Fundecitrus, a citrus growers and juice manufacturers association from the state of São Paulo, upgraded its estimate for the 2017-2018 orange crop to 385.2 million boxes, a 3% bump from its most recent estimate in September and a 57% increase over last year's final estimate of 245.31 million boxes.

"While existing stocks in terms of the volume of processed orange juice on hand is rather low, with demand dropping as it is, higher stocks are not necessary. Brazil had a strong recovery in the 2017-18 harvest which is now finishing up and that too will help to keep the market adequately supplied," said Judy Ganes Chase, founder of J. Ganes Consulting LLC.

In other markets, raw sugar for March was off 0.6% at 13.77 cents a pound, March cocoa rose 0.3% to end at $1,893 a ton, arabica coffee for March was up 0.2% to end at $1.203 a pound and March cotton was up 1.6% to end at 75.33 cents a pound.

Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 14, 2017 17:45 ET (22:45 GMT)