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OJ futures surge on cold Florida winter forecast

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

The price of orange juice surged Tuesday as balmy weather in Florida failed to quell concern about an expected winter freeze that could damage the state's orange crop.

Frozen orange juice concentrate for January delivery rose 4.95 cents, or 4.2 percent, to finish at $1.22 per pound. Trading was light, making the price more volatile.

Traders have grown more interested in orange juice futures since the government predicted in October that it could be colder than normal from December through February in Florida.

Buyers are also interested because futures are about 45 percent less than in January, when they jumped after low levels of fungicide were found in orange juice products. The government said the juice was safe and did not order a recall.

The Florida crop is in good condition, and the weather in Brazil, a huge exporter of orange juice products, has helped, analysts say.

"It's kind of the best of both worlds because orange juice prices have been beaten down, so you can buy them when they're real cheap, but you can also have the chance of some real upside if you do get that surprise freeze," said Spencer Patton, founder and chief investment officer of Steel Vine Investments LLC.

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