Orange juice at 2-year high as USDA trims Florida crop estimates

NEW YORK, April 9 Wed Apr 9, 2014 4:10pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. orange juice prices hit two-year highs on Wednesday after a government crop report trimmed last month's forecasts for production and yield from Florida.

The active front-month contract for frozen concentrated orange juice on ICE Futures U.S., May, settled up 3 percent, or 4.8 cents, at $1.6030 a lb. During the session, the contract shot up $1.6180, its highest since April 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its latest estimates for Florida's orange output and yield in a report issued after one of the most brutal winters in decades.

Florida's orange output for 2013/14 had been reduced to 110 million boxes from a previous forecast of 114 boxes in March, the USDA said.

"The Florida all orange forecast, at 110 million boxes (4.95 million tons), is down 4 percent from the previous forecast and down 18 percent from last season's final utilization," it said.

Yields for frozen concentrated orange juice were revised to an estimated 1.6 gallons a box, from last month's forecast of 1.61 gallons.

The yields were "down 1 percent from the March forecast but up 1 percent from last season's final yield of 1.59 gallons per box," it added. (Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Eric Walsh)