March 20, 2012 / 6:12 PM / 5 years ago

NY juice ends at 2-mth low on Florida, sell-stops

* Liquidation hits juice market on ideal Florida weather
    * Sell-stops hit below 200-day MA, $1.80 level

    NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Orange juice futures closed
on Tuesday at a two-month low as near ideal growing weather in
the citrus producing state of Florida and the fall through a
vital area of support sparked a round of liquidation in the
market, dealers said.	
    The key May frozen concentrated orange juice fell
7.40 cents, or by 4.01 percent, to close at $1.7685 per lb, the
lowest settlement for the spot contract since Jan. 3, according
to Thomson Reuters Data.	
    The market fell during the session by the 10-cent daily
trading limit, or by 5.4 percent, to the day's low at $1.7425,
also its lowest level since early January, Thomson Reuters data
showed.	
    Volume traded Tuesday hit almost 2,500 lots, the first time
since late February that business exceeded 2,000 lots, ICE
Futures U.S. data showed.  	
    "The crop is in good shape," James Cordier, senior analyst
of brokerage Optionsellers.com in Florida, said after tallying
the reasons for the selling spree.	
    The weather in Florida, the top citrus growing state in he
country, is ideal for the maturing crop. 	
    In fact, Cordier said it appears Florida's 2012/13 citrus
harvest "is going to be larger than last year," referring to the
147 million (90-lb) boxes of juice Florida reaped in 2011/12.	
    Traders said the fall of the May contract below the 200-day
moving average at $1.8177 and then major support at $1.80
sparked technical liquidation which then touched off automatic
pre-set computer sell orders.	
    Juice futures had rallied to record peaks 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.	
    Traders said the market's downward glide will likely persist
given the lack of a threat to Florida's maturing citrus crop. 	
    The next weather threat to Florida will not crop up until
the start of the annual Atlantic hurricane season on June 1 when
storms could menace Florida's groves.	
    Open interest, an indicator of investor exposure in the
market, stood at 23,119 lots as of March 19, its highest level
since Feb. 16, Thomson Reuters data showed.	
	
 (Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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