Orange juice prices plunge as frost thaws

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Citrus Futures contract

Citrus groves in Florida have narrowly escaped decimation at the hands freezing temperatures this week, prompting a sharp fall in juice prices.

Exceptionally cold weather hit Florida this week, prompting fears that the freezing temperatures could damage the citrus crop and the trees bearing them.

Poor weather predications sent prices of frozen concentrated orange juice up almost 20 percent last week on the futures market. But news that the freezing temperatures had not left behind the damage that some feared led to a recovery yesterday.

Prices on the ICE Futures US exchange fell 13 percent to $1.3186 a pound stopped in their downward path at one point during the day by a 20-cent daily fluctuation limit.

The plunge in prices reflects good news on the ground but does not mean that crops were left unscathed. There have been reports of some frozen fruit and damage to some plants, even if the worst case scenario has been avoided.

Temperatures were not as low as some had predicted last week and this obviously meant that crops were better off than expected. But good preparation from farmers also played a role.

In anticipation of frost farmers sprayed their crops with water before the arctic air swept in and this gave plants a protective layer from the cold.

Temperatures are expected to rise over the coming days and although crops have escaped the worst, there will be no bumper harvest this year. More on the Florida orange situation and its impact on the world juice market will be published in the coming days on FoodNavigator-USA.

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