Sugar output in Center South, Brazil’s main producing region, may miss the estimated 34.6 million metric tons this year, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, known as Unica.
Output may fall short of the forecast released March 31 as sucrose content in the cane is lower than expected and a large percentage of raw material has been used to make ethanol, Technical Director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said.
“The quality of the raw material is below expectations,” he said by phone today. “That may mean sugar production in April could be 30 to 40 percent below what the market was expecting,” he said, adding that the amount of cane crushed in April was also smaller than anticipated.
The sucrose content of the cane is 105 kilograms (231 pounds) a ton, when it should be about or above 120 kilograms at this time of year, Rodrigues said. Sugar production may also be affected because 65 percent of the cane crushed up to now has been directed to ethanol output, he said.
A shortage of ethanol in the South American country led prices for the biofuel to spike earlier this year, Patricia Luis-Manso, an analyst at Lausanne, Switzerland-based researcher and broker Kingsman SA, said in March.
The amount of cane used for ethanol production may fall to 44.84 percent, down from the 45.34 percent estimated in March, Rodrigues said.