Brazil's sugar cane crushing season sees prompt finish


The Brazilian sugar cane crushing season is now almost at an end, with most mills now closed for the season.

As of early January, just 15 mills out of around 300 were still crushing in the country's key Centre South region, data from the Brazilian cane body Unica showed.

But Unica suggested there could be an early start to next season, saying that some companies could start up in March, rather than April when crushing usually begins.

Little cane left to harvest

Dry weather, and an uninterrupted harvest, left a very little cane in the field by the end of 2016.

"Data from the Sugarcane Technology Centre from a sample of 36 companies indicate that the productivity of the area harvested in December reached 68.66 tonnes of sugarcane per hectare in the Centre-South, with a decrease of more than 19% [year-on-year].

Cane crusher in Brazil's Centre South region produced 127,000 tonnes of sugar in the second half of December, Unica data showed, compared to 379,000 in the previous two-week period.

Mills crushed 3.0m tonnes of cane late over the same period,, compared to 7.22 million tonnes in the first half of the month.

So far this season, Brazilian Centre South cane mills produced 35.40m tonnes, up from 30.433m tonnes over the same period last year.

Futures ease despite Indian tightness

Sugar futures eased on Friday, despite some support from ideas that the Indian government may be forced to reduce import tariffs, in order to ease a tight domestic market.

"India continues to be at the forefront of traders' minds as internal prices continue to rise," said Nick Penney, at Sucden Financial.

"India's Food minister yesterday reiterated that there were no plans to reduce import duty for sugar in the near term, but it is generally felt that, should estimates of final production for this season continue to fall and internal prices continue to rise, the government would be forced to act."  

"On past form, it has often taken a long time for the government to agree on any change of policy and some expect no decision to be made until the end of next month, when the numbers become clearer," Mr Penney said.

March raw sugar futures traded down 0.5% in midday deals at New York, at 20.65 cents a pound.


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