Cold weather in the US starts to boost juice prices

Futures for frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) moved up in the first fortnight of December, boosted by the beginning of the frost period in the Florida state. On Friday, Dec 14th, contracts that expire in January closed at 144.65 cents of dollar per pound at the New York Board of Trade (Nybot), increasing 5.3 percent over Nov 30th. In this time, players normally speculate about the effects of frosts in the Florida orchards.

The USDA did not change the estimation about the Florida's 2007/08 orange crop, forecasting the production at 168 million boxes. It limited the increased at the Nybot, since some market agents was waiting for a reduction of 5 million boxes.

In Brazil, rainfalls have helped orange orchards in the Sao Paulo state. At the same time, the rainy weather limited the consumption in the fresh fruit market (wholesale). On Dec 14th, pera orange averaged 14.26 reals or 7.92 dollars per box of 40.8 kilos, on tree, increasing 3 percent in Real over Nov 30th.

The orange supply of Sao Paulo state should reduce in this month and in January compared to Dec/06 and Jan/07. According to citrus growers, the drought between August and October accelerated harvest activities, since lots of fruits, especially pera, were dropping from the trees. At the moment, growers are harvesting especially the natal, valencia and tahiti lime varieties. However, the volume available is still moderate.

In this context, players bet on higher prices for the fruit delivered on citrus plant (spot market) from this month on. Between Nov 30th and Dec 14th, pera upped 2.4 percent in the spot market, averaging 12.67 reals or 7.04 dollars per box of 40.8 kilos.

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