Orange shipments from Brazil to the European Union were suspended after EU officials found samples with black spot fungus, a Brazilian government official said.
Brazil, the world’s largest producer, halted the shipments on Oct. 24 after the EU reported that six containers of oranges were found with traces of the fungus, Cosam Coutinho, director of vegetable sanitation at the Agriculture Ministry, said in a telephone interview from Brasilia.
Brazilian orange shipments represent less than 10 percent of the country’s citrus exports, which is mostly processed into orange juice before it’s sold overseas. The halt is unlikely to significantly affect orange juice futures since it only refers to the fruit, John Ortelle, a vice president at McKeany-Flavell Co., a broker in Oakland, California, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
“We will have technical meetings with EU representatives to show our progress in dealing with the fungus before March, when the exports resume,” Coutinho said.
Orange juice for January delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $1.061 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The price has tumbled 37 percent this year amid slowing demand in the U.S. and higher production in Florida, the world’s second- biggest citrus grower.
Brazil’s orange sales to the EU usually cease by November, when European import tariffs for the fruit are raised to encourage purchases from local suppliers, making exports less attractive, Coutinho said. The fungus was found in six of 300 containers shipped to the EU, Coutinho said.
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