Orange Juice Futures Settle Below Pre-Florida Hurricane Levels

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Orange juice futures ended lower for a 15th straight session Wednesday as traders eye bumper crops in Brazil, the world's largest growing region.

Frozen concentrated orange juice for March delivery fell 1.1% to end at $1.3235 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, the lowest close since Aug. 30.

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The move means that bullish traders have officially unwound from bets made after a devastating hurricane struck Florida, pushing the citrus crop there to its smallest since the 1945.

Juice processors in Florida, which largely serves the not-from-concentrate market in the U.S., have been taking exports from Mexico, Brazil and Europe to fill the void, said Price Futures Group.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December placed its latest Florida estimate at 46 million boxes, which would be the lowest orange crop since 1945.

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.

Fundecitrus, a citrus growers and juice manufacturers association from the state of Sao Paulo, upgraded its estimate for the 2017-18 orange crop to 385.2 million boxes in December. This is 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.

In other markets, raw sugar for March was up 1.6% to end at 14.93 cents a pound. March cocoa rose 0.5% to settle at $1,866 a ton, March arabica coffee closed up 1.9% at $1.245 a pound and cotton for March delivery was up 2% to settle at 78.95 cents a pound.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 16:04 ET (21:04 GMT)