Forecast of lower crop in Florida boosts values

Citrus analyst Elizabeth Steger estimated the 2008/09 Florida orange crop at 150 million boxes on August 13th, down 12 percent from the previous season. The reduction is linked to the fewer number of trees compared to the previous year and to the decrease of fruits per trees. The Louis Dreyfus company also published its forecast for the Florida orange crop, showing 156 million boxes.

In this context, frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) prices increased to 103.45 cents of dollar per pound on Aug 13th. In the first week of August, quotations averaged 96.10 cents of dollar a pound, the lowest level since 2005, due to the ending stocks and to the speculations about an increase in Florida crop production. It is important to remember that, even with the higher ending stocks, the production at roughly 150 million boxes does not supply the North-American demand - in this case, Florida should produce around 200 million boxes.

In Brazil, domestic prices of the fruit delivered at citrus plants (spot market) decreased, due to the weak demand. According to processors, fruits keep showing low quality. From July 31st to August 15th, pera decreased 14.3 percent in Real, averaging 9.53 reals or 5.81 dollars per box of 40.8 kilos on Aug 15th. (Cepea - Brazil)

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