Orange juice and cotton futures sink as Irma’s damage appears less than feared

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Both cotton and orange juice futures fell sharply on Monday as destruction from Hurricane Irma appeared less than feared.

Orange juice futures traded about 3.5 percent lower after jumping nearly 13 percent last week ahead of anticipated crop destruction from the huge storm. That was orange juice futures’ best week since Oct. 16, 2015 when orange juice futures gained more than 16 percent.

Florida is the world’s second-largest orange juice producer, behind Brazil, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida’s citrus industry was already struggling with declining production because of citrus greening, an incurable disease spread by an insect that impairs trees’ circulation and nutrition.

Meanwhile, cotton futures also fell sharply, down 2.5 percent after rising more than 5 percent in September through Friday. Cotton is a key crop in Georgia and the Carolinas that doesn’t fare well in severely wet weather.

Late last month, Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas, destroyed an estimated $150 million of cotton crops, ripping the bolls off plants and leaving white fiber strewn across fields, according to Reuters.

Hurricane Irma weakened to a tropical storm on Monday, but is still producing near hurricane-force winds. Hurricane Irma pounded heavily populated areas of central Florida on Monday as it carved through the state with high winds, storm surges and torrential rains that left millions without power



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