Orange Juice Prices Could “Increase Substantially” As Hurricane Pummels Florida’s Top Citrus Grow Region

Orange Juice Prices Could “Increase Substantially” As Hurricane Pummels Florida’s Top Citrus Grow Region

Hurricane Tropical Storm Ian could soon drive up orange juice prices at the supermarket as the powerful storm tears through the central-southwest part of the state where large citrus groves reside.

Donald Keeney, a meteorologist at Maxar Technologies Inc., told Bloomberg that 90% of the state’s citrus crop is in Ian’s path, including three top-producing counties. 

There’s not a thing in the world you can do to protect crops. 

All the areas are going to have impact. It could be the the final straw for some Florida growers,” said Raymond Royce, executive director at Highlands County Citrus Growers Association in Sebring, Florida. 

November orange juice futures contracts are trading as high as $1.90 per pound Thursday morning and have risen 7% since Monday. $2 per pound appears to be a multi-decade resistance level. 

On Monday, we pointed out OJ prices were set to rise due to the tropical threat with storm path projections for Tampa. But landfall was about two hours south near Fort Myers, suggesting more widespread damage to citrus crops. 

“The only problem is that as much as the crop could be blown off the trees, the high prices and tighter supply will also shrink demand,” said Judy Ganes of J Ganes Consulting. 

To get an idea of where the storm made landfall and top producing citrus counties in the state, the US Department of Agriculture’s map is an eye opener of the severe damage that could’ve hit citrus groves (there are still no official crop damage reports but assessments should be underway). 

Notice the many citrus producers in south-central Florida – Polk, Hardee, Highlands, DeSoto Counties – and that is where #HurricaneIan is going next. With the damage, you can expect citrus prices to increase substantially. pic.twitter.com/jZ8h8jmK5x

— Craig Ceecee (@CC_StormWatch) September 28, 2022

The University of Florida estimated that 375,000 acres of citrus could be impacted.

Our thoughts go out to all Floridians who have experienced catastrophic impacts from #HurricaneIan. As noted by the University of Florida, 375k acres of citrus, 200k acres of veggies and 70k acres housing livestock were in Ian’s path. https://t.co/JOZdvRrQhW

— Missouri Farm Bureau (@MOFarmBureau) September 29, 2022

Combine the storm’s potentially devastating blow to an industry already suffering from citrus greening, and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio laid out to CNN about the disaster ahead:

“The citrus industry in Florida is already teetering on the brink because of citrus greening.

“They lose this year’s crop and a bunch of trees, you can’t just restart that.” 

 Readers may recall, earlier this year, we said Florida’s Citrus Crop To Be Smallest Since WW2, Squeezes OJ Prices Highernoting that dwindling supply was pushing up orange juice prices at the supermarket. 

With that being said, crop damage reports could likely surface in the coming days or weeks and may push prices higher on increased supply woes. The $2 per pound mark will be in focus. 

Did we mention Florida is one of the top-producing citrus states? 

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/29/2022 – 22:40

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