Orange juice prices spurted to a four-year high recently at $1.95 per frozen pound and have gyrated wildly since. Prices exploded as the market feared an orange tree disease called citrus greening and a wild start to the Atlantic hurricane season could derail this year’s crop.
Since then, friendlier weather forecasts and signs of weaker consumer demand knocked the market back down, although prices were still lofty Friday near $1.82 per pound.
These higher prices were welcomed by Florida’s orange growers, who suffered through prices near $1.00 per pound in recent years. Longer-term, they are facing a dire threat from citrus greening that has already ravaged Florida’s groves and could lead to further losses in the coming years.