LONDON, Aug 20 (AFP): A carton of orange juice could be set for a steep price rise after wholesale prices of the tropical juice hit 16-year highs last week on fears for the harvest in the US state of Florida.
In New York, where the juice is traded, the price of orange juice for delivery in September reached 1.876 dollars a pound (450 grams) Thursday, its highest level since July 1990.
"The last two years, the '04 and '05 crops in Florida were ravaged by three hurricanes that reduced production from anywhere between 35-45 per cent from where it was running the previous years," said James Cordier, head trader at the Liberty Trading commodities brokerage in Tampa, Florida.
The price of juice has tripled since 2004 when a pound of orange juice cost 60 cents.
Since the start of the year, prices have soared by 50 per cent.
The driver of higher prices has been concern for growers in Florida, where the vast majority of oranges in the United States are harvested.
The United States, which used to be the biggest producer of orange juice in the world, has now been overtaken by Brazil as a result of the loss of productivity in Florida, nicknamed the "Sunshine State".
The British Soft Drinks Association has forecast that the price of a carton of orange juice could rise by 25 per cent this year because of the problems in the US
The spike in prices to record highs last week was caused by a report from influential Florida-based analyst Elizabath Steger, who estimated that the orange crop in Florida next year would be smaller than expected.