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US: Orange juice futures at 3 month low

Orange juice futures finished at a 3-month low on Thursday on speculative liquidation as bearish fundamentals of ideal weather in the citrus producing
state of Florida and weak demand deflated the market, dealers said.   

The key May frozen concentrated orange juice sank 3.40 cents or by 2.0 percent, to close at $1.664 per lb, the lowest settlement for the spot contract since December 22, 2011.
Volume traded on Thursday hit over 2,400 lots, some 15 percent below the 30-day norm, ICE Futures U.S. data showed.     
"It's massive spec along with some producer sales," said The Price Group analyst Jack Scoville. He said there was virtually nothing on the fundamental front
which could provide a boost to the juice market since supplies remain ample and retail demand is weak.   

Citrus trees in Florida, the top citrus growing state in the United States, are maturing under excellent weather conditions. Some in the trade said Florida's upcoming 2012/13 citrus harvest may top the 147 million (90-lb) boxes of juice Florida reaped in 2011/12.   
Juice futures had rallied to record highs in late January above $2 a lb after the U.S. said it found a prohibited fungicide in imports of Brazilian juice, which accounts for half of all imports and around 10 percent of U.S. juice supplies.   
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted tests and excluded some shipments, but fears of a supply crunch have since eased since there are more than enough supplies in the United States for the domestic juice market.   
One analyst said a fall toward $1.50 or lower should uncover some consumer buying.   

Source: www.reuters.com

Publication date: 3/23/2012


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