Brazil Center-South Sugar Forecast Cut on Lower Crop Yields

Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, will fall short of previous estimates after frost hurt crops, industry association Unica said.

Output of the sweetener will total 30.8 million metric tons this year, down from an Aug. 11 estimate of 31.6 million tons, Sao Paulo-based Unica said today in an e-mailed statement. Production will drop from 33.5 million tons last year.

Freezing weather in June, when its winter in the Southern Hemisphere, pared yields of sugar-cane plants that had also been harmed by drought in previous crops. Many sugar-cane plantations, which can be cut and grow again for several consecutive crops, have aged past the time they should be replanted to ensure productivity, Unica said.

The estimate for sugar-cane production in the region was also trimmed to 488.5 million tons from 510.2 million tons. Production will fall from 556.9 million tons last year.

Brazil’s Center South will produce 20.4 billion liters (5.4 billion gallons) of ethanol, less than the 21 billion previously estimated and the 25.4 billion liters produced last year, Unica said.

Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar, accounting for about 54 percent of global exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sugar-cane mills in the Center South of the country will turn 48.2 percent of the cane into sugar this year, more than the 48.1 percent in the previous estimate, and up from 44.9 percent last year. The rest is being processed into ethanol.

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