Brazil's center-south speeds up cane crush

27.04.2018

Brazil's center-south, the world's largest sugar producing region, sped up harvesting in the first half of April, crushing a quarter more cane than in the same period a year earlier, industry group Unica said on Wednesday.

It is reported by Reuters.

Mills crushed 22,21 million tonnes of cane in the first two weeks of April versus 17,7 million tonnes a year earlier, allocating 68,5 percent of that cane to ethanol production, which jumped 44,6 percent to 993 million liters.

Sugar production was stable at 714,000 tonnes, despite the higher cane crush, as mills are keen to direct all their effort to the biofuel, which gives them better profit margins in a
moment when sugar prices have touched the lowest in 2-1/2 years.

The number for ethanol production, Unica said, incorporates corn-based fuel as well, whose output reached 26,8 million liters in the first half of April.

Domestic sales of hydrous ethanol jumped 29,4 percent in the period from a year earlier, as drivers kept using more of the biofuel as a substitute for more-expensive gasoline. Both cane crush and sugar production were slightly above market expectations. A survey conducted by S&P Global Platts showed on average that analysts were expecting a sugar output of 578,000 tonnes and cane crush of 19.1 million tonnes. A drier-than-normal April helped mills speed processing.

Unica said 170 mills were already crushing in the region, versus 162 at this time last year. The group said 57 other mills should have started processing in the second half of April. But it was pessimistic about the new crop year.

«In the 2018/19 crop we should see up to nine mills closing doors in the region, due to financial difficulties and low cane av ailability», — said Unica's technical director Antonio de PaduaRodrigues. He expected three closures in Paraná state, one in Mato Grosso do Sul, one in Rio de Janeiro and four in São Paulo.


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