Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

November 16, 2013

Futures File: Orange juice market shines, pork slides

TRAVERSE CITY — Orange juice prices blasted upward in response to a recent United States Department of Agriculture report predicting Florida’s orange crop this year would be the smallest since 1990.

A combination of dry weather and a disease known as citrus greening are the primary causes for the sour production outlook.

Florida is currently experiencing unseasonably cool weather, which may have spooked some traders as well. Though there is little chance of a frost hitting now, thoughts of freezing temperatures could drive prices higher.

The prospect of limited supplies is causing price increases for orange juice, which has jumped 17 percent recently. As of midday Friday, frozen concentrated orange juice for delivery in January was worth $1.38 per pound, the highest price in nearly two months.

Heavy hogs weigh on market

Pork prices have been grinding lower for the last two weeks, pulled down by news of heavier hogs.

Pork producers have been holding their herds back from slaughter due to the availability of cheap corn, which is near a three-year low. This factor may be backing up plenty of heavy animals in the barns; when they hit the market, prices could fall.

The approach of Thanksgiving may also cause demand to wane as shoppers hunt for their favorite turkey.

Longer-term, U.S. per-capita pork consumption has dropped from a peak of more than 52 pounds in the 1990s down to near 46 pounds per person now as consumers’ preferences shift toward poultry.

Despite the recent sell-off, pork prices are still historically high, trading Friday near 86 cents per pound.

 

Crude spills lower

Crude oil prices dropped to a five-month low this week at $92.51 per barrel, driven downward by a U.S. government report showing a continued rise in domestic oil supplies. After last week’s 2.6 million barrel gain, supplies stand at 388 million barrels, a record high for this time of year.

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