Juice lovers feelin' the squeeze

Oranges are sprayed with water to melt the ice frozen over them during California's January freeze.

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Do you start your day with a glass of OJ? Well, you've probably noticed the price has gone way up. The price now is around $5.51 a gallon, that's almost a dollar higher than a year ago. The reason is the January freeze in California and a shortage of supply in Florida. This morning a report out of Brazil could change that picture. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech has more.


DAN GRECH: Brazil's Sao Paulo state, the world's biggest orange-producing region, has seen heavy rains over the past few months. That could lead to an early citrus harvest, an analyst told Bloomberg.

Could those early oranges bring down juice prices in the U.S.?

Michael Sparks is with the Florida Citrus Mutual, an orange growers association. He says an early crop probably won't lower the cost of orange juice in the U.S. Rather, it would take a larger crop in Brazil to bring down prices.

MICHAEL SPARKS: So if those crops are higher, no doubt the higher the crops, the better prices for consumers.

Florida's orange crop is one of the lowest in decades.

That's kept store prices high. It's also led growers' returns to increase by 9 percent this season.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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