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Hurricane Rina bound for Cancun, Mexico

Hurricane Rina is now a Category 2 hurricane, and is forecast to reach Cancun, Mexico, Thursday. Coffee futures are up due to expected losses due to hurricane Rina in the region.

By Dave Graham, Patrick Rucker and Mica RosenbergReuters / October 25, 2011

This NOAA satellite image taken Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT shows Hurricane Rina moving toward Cancun, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula.

(AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)

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Mexico City

Hurricane Rina intensified in the Caribbean Tuesday, moving farther from recently rain-hit coffee and sugar-growing countries in Central America as it bears down on the popular Mexican resort Cancun.

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The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rina, the sixth hurricane in the Atlantic this year, is expected to make landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula early Thursday after hitting Belize, both of them home to beach getaways.

Authorities have issued a hurricane watch for the east coast of the Yucatan from Chetumal to Punta Gruesa.

Rina, now a Category Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, was located 305 miles east southeast of Chetumal, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of near 100 miles per hour, the forecasters said.

``Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so,'' the Miami-based hurricane center said. ``And Rina could become a major hurricane by tonight or early Wednesday.''

The hurricane is not expected to threaten Mexico's oil-producing region in the Gulf of Mexico.

Honduras, Central America's largest coffee producer, had its coast brushed by the storm but coffee-growing areas were largely spared from more rains after major downpours last week ravaged roads to farms before the harvesting season.

On Monday, skies were clear in Guatemala -- the region's No. 2 coffee grower -- and in El Salvador, also a producer of high-quality arabica beans.

Farmers are still assessing damage from the earlier rains but national coffee associations say that infrastructure damage will be the biggest challenge.

On Monday, Arabica coffee trading on ICE Futures U.S. got a boost from concerns about Rina after two weeks of rain that killed around 100 people in Central America.

(Additional reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Nelson Renteria in San Salvador; Editing by Will Dunham)

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