The amount of sugarcane processed by mills in the South Central region of Brazil totaled 41.97 million tons during the first-half of September – an increase of 12.79% compared to the same period in 2011 (37.21 million tons) but a drop of 9.68% compared to the second-half of August 2012 (46.47 million tons).
According to the acting President of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, “Despite a bit of rain in early September, the smaller crush was caused by maintenance-related stoppages at mills during the period.”
From the start of the 2012/13 season through September 15, the amount of sugarcane crushed totaled 349.53 million tons, compared to 376.71 million tons during the same period last year. “Therefore, we still see a deficit of 27.19 million tons of cane processed when comparing the 2012/13 season to 2011/12, and this deficit is concentrated in the State of São Paulo. By contrast, in the States of Goiás, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, the accumulated crush in the current season through September 15 has already surpassed by about 5% the total reached in the same period of 2011,” Rodrigues said.
A survey conducted by UNICA shows that, on average, traditional producing units located in the South Central region were able to engage in crush activities 88.65% of the time during the first-half of September, compared to more than 90% in prior two-week periods.
Despite the reduced time use, the dry weather worked in favor of the quality of the raw material. The amount of Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR in Portuguese) per ton of sugarcane reached 151.78 kg in the first-half September, practically identical to the 151.93 kg recorded in the same period in 2011. From the start of the 2012/13 season, however, the ATR content per ton of raw material remained below that observed in 2011 – 132.19 kg this year, compared to 134.48 kg for the same period last year.
Sugar and ethanol production
In the first-half of September, 51.67% of the cane processed went to sugar production, a percentage slightly higher than the 51.30% observed in the same period in 2011. Overall, from the start of the current season, the share of cane directed to sugar production remained below 50%, totaling 49.50%.
Sugar production totaled 3.14 million tons in the first-half of September, compared to 2.76 million tons in the same period last year. Ethanol production reached 1.80 billion liters – of which 810.93 million liters were anhydrous and 990.43 million liters were hydrous ethanol – translating to an 11.63% increase versus the same period in 2011.
From the start of the current harvest through September 15, the amount of sugar produced reached 21.79 million tons, compared to 23.21 million tons recorded in the same period in 2011. Accumulated ethanol production totaled 13.69 billion liters – 5.36 billion liters of anhydrous and 8.33 billion liters of hydrous ethanol.
Ethanol sales by mills in the South Central region totaled 971.27 million liters in the first-half of September, up 10.40% compared to the same period in 2011. Of that total, 196.35 million liters were destined for export, and 774.92 million liters remained in Brazil’s domestic market.
In the domestic market, the volume of hydrous ethanol sold reached 482.43 million liters in the first-half of September. Of that, 434.59 million liters pertained to sales of fuel-grade ethanol, which is close to the 474.88 million liters recorded during the same period in 2011/12.
Rodrigues notes that the numbers represent a slight recovery of domestic sales of fuel-grade hydrous ethanol. “In the last three half-month periods of the current harvest, the volume of fuel-grade hydrous ethanol sold was, on average, 15% below sales registered in 2011. In the first-half of September, this difference narrowed to just 8.48%,” he explained.
As for sales of anhydrous ethanol in the domestic market, the volume reached 292.49 million liters in the first-half of September. Of that total, 280.94 million liters were fuel-grade anhydrous ethanol, down 10.64% from the same period in 2011/12. However, at that time, the mandatory anhydrous ethanol blend rate in gasoline was 25% (compared to 20% currently).
From the start of the current season through September 15, ethanol sales totaled 9.68 billion liters, of which 4.12 billion liters were anhydrous and 5.56 billion liters were hydrous ethanol. Of the total ethanol sales, 8.16 billion liters were for supplying Brazil’s domestic market and 1.52 billion liters were exported.