Brazil sugar production quickens in July after wet June

Cane mills in center-south Brazil churned out sugar in early July after wet conditions in June slowed crushing of the record crop that is the source of half the world’s sugar exports, Brazil’s industry association Unica said on Wednesday.

Brazil’s main cane region produced 2.4 million tonnes of sugar in the first half of July, up 60 percent from the 1.5 million produced in the second half of June.

Sugar output in the first half of July was not fully up to speed yet, with mills’ sugar output 9 percent behind the 2.63 million tonnes produced in the same fortnight a year ago.

Mills’ ethanol output in the first half of July was 1.77 billion liters, up 38 percent from late June and 10 percent from the same two weeks a year ago.

Wet weather in June slowed operations across the center-south cane belt, while early July was largely dry, allowing mills to resume harvesting.

The past week was unusually wet again, which should drag down crushing numbers in the second half of July and show up in Unica’s next bimonthly crushing report due out in about two weeks.

Mills eased production of ethanol in early July, at a time when supply is pushing domestic prices lower for the biofuel.

Unica said that mills allocated 54.6 percent of their cane crush for ethanol production and 45.4 percent for sugar early this month, compared with 58.1 percent for ethanol and 41.9 percent for sugar in late June.

Compared with a year ago, however, it was clear that mills were favoring ethanol this year. Last year at this time, mills allocated only 49.8 percent of their crush to ethanol and 50.2 percent for sugar.

Brazil’s sugar production since the start of the 2013/14 harvest in April through mid July was up 21 percent from a year ago at 11.3 million tonnes, Unica said.

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