DJ Soft Commodities Slide After Posting First-Quarter Gains


  NEW YORK--Soft-commodity futures kicked off the quarter lower, as concerns
over supplies eased.

  Most markets posted double-digit gains in the first three months of the year,
as weather threats and tightening supplies spurred buying.

  Orange-juice concentrate for May delivery on ICE Futures U.S. was down 2.1%
at $1.5170 a pound, after a report showed slumping U.S. demand for the once
breakfast-table staple.

  U.S. retail orange-juice sales fell 5.3% in the four weeks ended March 15
from year before to 43.55 million gallons, according to Nielsen data published
Monday by the Florida Department of Citrus.

  "Today's action is down on the retail report," said James Cordier, president
of Liberty Trading Group, a Tampa, Fla.-based brokerage.

  The weaker demand has helped counter a U.S. Department of Agriculture
forecast Florida growers will reap their smallest crop in 24 years this season.

  Following its largest quarterly gain--62%--in 17 years, arabica coffee
futures were lower Tuesday. May-delivery coffee was down 1.2% at $1.7580 a
pound, after rain was forecast for top coffee producer Brazil's main growing
areas. The worst drought in decades had pushed coffee prices to a
more-than-two-year high of $2.0505 a pound last month.

  May-delivery cotton was 1.7% lower at 91.95 cents a pound after the USDA
forecast a 7% increase in U.S. cotton acreage this spring over last year.

  Cocoa for May was down 0.4% at $2,943 a ton, while May raw sugar was 0.6% at
17.66 cents a pound.


  Write to Leslie Josephs at leslie.josephs@wsj.com


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  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

  April 01, 2014 10:08 ET (14:08 GMT)

  Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

040114 14:08 -- GMT