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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Orange juice prices have surged by more than 30% so far this year making it the world's top performing commodity.

Why it matters: Demand for the beverage continues to rise and supply has faced constraints, in part because of the exponential increase of coronavirus cases in Brazil, a top global center of OJ production.

On one side: U.S. retail sales of orange juice rose 46% from a year earlier in the four-week period ending April 11, the most since January 2015, according to Bloomberg, citing the Florida Department of Citrus and data from Nielsen.

  • After two decades of declining sales when Americans moved away from juice and opted for lower sugar beverages, orange juice consumption is reversing the trend as part of the quarantine diet.
  • It also has been sought because it is rich in vitamin C, which bolsters immune systems, in the face of the pandemic.

“The taboos of the past two decades are now erased, and with people trying to shop less frequently, drinking OJ can replace fresh fruit,” Judy Ganes, the president of J. Ganes Consulting, told Bloomberg.

  • “This was the long-awaited break the industry needed to shake off prior negative posturing and give OJ a fresh start.”

On the other side: Production had been expected to decline for the 2020–2021 orange crop and the latest estimate from Brazil's Fundecitrus showed it would be 25.6% smaller than the previous crop and 12.5% below the average crop size for the last 10 years.

  • That was largely because of poor weather conditions, and the coronavirus pandemic will likely further dent production as pickers get sick or are unable to work because of the virus.
  • Brazil now has the world's second highest number of cases, with nearly 365,000 confirmed.

But, but, but: As I wrote in March, orange juice prices are much higher than they have been in the past couple years but remain well below 2017 and 2018 highs.

Go deeper: Coronavirus has hit American farmers from all sides

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

Brazil lifts travel ban as cases and death toll surge to record numbers

Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Rahel Patrasso/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images

Brazil ended a four-month ban on foreign visitors arriving by air despite reporting a record number of daily coronavirus cases and deaths on Wednesday, per AFP.

The big picture: More than 1,595 people died of COVID-19 and another 69,074 have tested positive in Brazil. The country's total reported cases (over 2.5 million) and death toll (more than 90,100) are second only to the U.S. President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the virus' effects, even after previously testing positive for COVID-19. Brazil is facing the threat of its worst-ever recession.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.