Arctic air sent the mercury plummeting in Florida and orange juice prices soaring on New York's Cotton Exchange Monday as traders reacted to the damaged crop.
Prices jumped by 5 cents a pound, the maximum allowed by the exchange, as soon as trading started and only a handful of contracts changed hands, as few traders wanted to sell.
The price move was a response to the temperatures that dipped to below 20 degrees in the northern region of Florida on Sunday night and anticipation that the freeze would extend into the central and southern regions, said Judy Weissman, an orange juice analyst in New York with the futures service center of Shearson Lehman/American Express.
She said the freeze in northern Florida destroyed efforts by producers to restore groves that were hit hard by a freeze in December, 1983, but failed to damage any fruit.
The freeze forecast for Monday night extended into the heart of the citrus belt, Weissman said.