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The price of OJ is rising during the worst orange shortage since World War II

Lovers of oranges and citrus fruits are in a bitter case of brandy shock, as Florida's crop is on its way to becoming the smallest in more than 75 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this year's crop will yield a smaller yield for the second year in a row, with orange production across Florida falling by 3% this winter.

Florida - which accounts for more than 70% of total U.S. production and more than 90% of U.S. orange juice - is expected to produce 44.5 million 90-pound boxes of oranges during the current season - 1.5 million fewer than the latest forecast, was released in December.

The last time the state produced so few crates was during the 1944-45 growing season, when Florida recorded a yield of 42.3 million crates of oranges.

Since the beginning of the year, the price of orange juice has risen 5.26%, or $ 7.70 per serving. pound.

The Florida Department of Citrus said this year's low yield was caused by an outbreak of citrus greenery, an incurable plant disease spread by insects. Citrus greenery has wreaked havoc on Florida groves since it was first discovered in 2005, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shelves with orange juice at Publix, grocer.  (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Florida officials blame the lack of an incurable disease that has affected trees and plants in the state.
Universal Images Group via Getty

Futures on frozen concentrated orange juice had a higher trend. Since the onset of the pandemic, futures have risen by about 50%. Futures rose 5.1% after the USDA released its forecast that predicted a smaller harvest.

The pandemic proved to be a boon for the orange juice and citrus trade. The shutdowns gave rise to a renewed demand for orange juice - a shift from recent years as Americans have opted for beverages that contain less sugar.

In February 2020, just before the shutdowns, orange juice futures traded at a 10-year low. In the middle of the next month, sales of orange juice increased by 10%.

The USDA predicts that a surplus of crops in foreign markets such as Brazil and Mexico will help offset the domestic shortage.

Americans are already paying more for goods and services thanks to soaring inflation levels not seen for four decades. Consumer prices rose 7% for the year ending December, according to federal data.

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