Orange Juice Declines; Cotton Jumps As Traders Close Positions

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Orange juice futures ended lower for a fifth straight session Wednesday as a bullish tone loses momentum following a meteoric price rise.

Frozen concentrated orange juice for January delivery ended down 1.5% at $1.474 a pound, a two week low.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is estimating that the orange crop in Florida, which grows the most oranges for U.S. juice, will be the lowest since 1962 at 74 million boxes as the state battles citrus greening disease, which causes fruit to drop before it is ripe. But, at the same time, demand for juice continues to slump.

“Buying related to the surprising USDA reports seemed to run out of steam,” Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group said in a note.

Orange juice futures were up 12% year-to-date on Nov. 12 but have fallen from those highs and are up 3.3% so far this year.

In other markets, raw sugar futures extended losses from Tuesday’s selloff, ending down 0.6% at 14.91 cents a pound, falling from a 10-month high reached Tuesday as a bearish trade beats out bullish speculators.

Cotton for March delivery ended up 2.2% at 63.28 cents a pound, the largest percentage gain for the most active contract since Oct. 13.

Jordan Lea, co-owner of Eastern Trading Company, a Greenville, S.C., cotton-trading firm, said the physical cotton market is finally seeing some movement after harvest delays caused by rain. Ginned cotton is moving from producers to merchants, he said.

Mr. Lea said there was no fundamental reason for Wednesday’s bounce.

“You don’t want to go into a four-day weekend with a big position,” he said.

Cocoa futures ended down 1% at $3,304 a ton on concerns about demand in Europe. A strong dollar against the euro is driving up prices at a time when recent events in Paris are expected to damp retail sales of chocolate.

Arabica coffee for March rose 0.8% to $1.2555 a pound.

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