Orange juice, sugar prices rise on falling supply

Sugar and orange juice prices rose Tuesday after the Department of Agriculture’s latest report predicted smaller supplies of the crops than previously estimated.

Grains were little changed after the report, which showed supplies for those commodities in line with expectations, said Frank Cholly Sr., a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock.

The USDA cut its forecast for the 2009-2010 orange harvest by 3 percent from last month’s estimate. Freezing temperatures in Florida in early January destroyed some of the crop.

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With less supply of fresh fruit, the price of frozen orange juice concentrate for March rose $3.40, or 3.4 percent, to settle at $1.3765. OJ prices have been extremely volatile for most of the year because of uncertainty over how much of the crop was destroyed by the bad weather.

Florida produces more than 70 percent of the nation’s entire orange crop. Analysts say it could still be months before it is certain how much of the crop was ruined. [Read the full article]

Wealthy European nations were moving closer toward swallowing a bitter pill Tuesday: rescuing Greece from its own overspending to stop its debt crisis from dragging down the euro and stock markets all the way to Wall Street.

Stocks in the U.S. and Europe rose on expectations of some kind of decisive action to stem fears of a Greek debt default from spreading to other countries, undermining Europe’s hesitant economic recovery.

European Union leaders will issue a statement on Greece’s debt crisis during a Thursday meeting, officials said Tuesday — without giving details of what it would say — as the European Central Bank’s president Jean-Claude Trichet joins them for talks in Brussels.

The crisis has exposed the EU’s Achilles’ heel — states remain independent to spend as they wish, though 16 governments can end up sharing the consequences. [Read the full article]

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday backed away from a proposed $34.5 million balanced budget reserve fund he would have controlled, opting for a plan lawmakers said would give them more influence over the money.

Separately, the House backed legislation that would keep pay flat for legislators, constitutional officers and other elected officials paid by the state.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor has shifted his attention toward placing $34.5 million in a lower category of the state’s proposed Revenue Stabilization Act. The act sets the state’s spending priorities based on expected revenues.

“It’s become apparent to the governor that putting revenue beyond the forecast budget into a ‘b’ category appears to be the best way to get everyone made whole, back to where they were before the first round of budget cuts,” DeCample said Tuesday. [Read the full article]
Fitch Ratings has assigned the following ratings to Jurupa Community Services District, California (the district):

–$8 million certificates of participation (COPs) (2010 sewer facilities financing), series A (tax exempt) AA-;

–$29 million COPs (2010 sewer facilities financing), series B (federally taxable-Build America Bonds-direct payment) ‘AA-‘.

The bonds are expected to sell via negotiation on Feb. 18. Proceeds from the series A COPs will be used to refund a portion of the district’s outstanding COPs, finance improvements to the district’s system for collection, transmission, treatment and disposal of wastewater and sewage, fund a debt service reserve and pay costs of issuance. Proceeds from the series B COPs will be used to fund improvements to the sewer system, fund a debt service reserve and pay costs of issuance. [Read the full article]

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