London — Brazil's major Center-South growing region saw a slide in the amount of cane crushed over the first half of June, leaving both ethanol and sugar output down on the year, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (Unica) said Tuesday.
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Sugar mills crushed 39.378 million mt over the June 1-15 period, down 5.18% on the same period of 2014, Unica said.
That brought the total volume of sugarcane crushed so far in the 2015-2016 harvest to 153.904 million mt, down 3.11% compared with the 158.845 million mt crushed by the same point in the 2014-2015 harvest.
Sugar mills remain focused on ethanol production. Ethanol represented 57.71% of the cane crush in the June 1-15 period, while sugar was 42.29%, Unica data showed.
"Crushing remains below last year and the weather conditions over the next few months will be crucial to determine the pace of crushing and final number for the current season," Unica technical director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said.
Unica said 264 mills were in operation in the Center-South by the middle of June, seven less than last year.
So far in the 2015-16 harvest which started April 1, sugar mills have diverted 61.11% of the crush to ethanol production and 38.89% to sugar, Unica said. A year earlier, the product mix was 57.87% ethanol and 42.13% sugar.
Claudiu Covrig, an analyst at Platts' agricultural analysis unit Kingsman, said: "Generally speaking as we advance into the harvest and approach the peak of the crop, we should see more sucrose diverted to sugar production but actual global sugar prices which are below production costs even in the most efficient producer (now CS Brazil) are leading Brazilian producers to limit their increase in the sugar mix."
SWEETER ETHANOL INCENTIVE, SUGAR DOWN
Center-South mills produced 1.973 million mt of sugar over June 1-15 , down 14.98% from 2.320 million mt a year earlier, Unica said.
That brought total sweetener output so far this harvest to 6.753 million mt, a decrease of 12.93% on the year from 7.756 million mt.
Total recoverable sugar (ATR), a proxy for sucrose levels, was 124.34 kg/mt of cane in the second half of June compared with 129.81 kg/mt a year, Unica said.
The ATR for this year's harvest through June 15 now stands at 118.40 kg/mt compared with 121.65 kg/mt in the same period of the 2014-15 harvest.
Ethanol yield was 42.14 liters/mt of sugarcane in the June 1-15 period, an increase of 1.19% from 41.65 liters/mt of sugarcane a year earlier, Unica said. Sugar yield was 50.10 kg/mt of cane, a drop of 10.33% versus the previous year's 55.88 kg/mt of cane.
So far during the 2015-2016 harvest through June 15, ethanol yield is up 3.46% at 42.74 liters/mt of sugarcane, Unica said. Sugar yield is 43.88 kg/mt cane, down 10.14% compared with the 2014-2015 harvest.
Ethanol production was 1.659 billion liters over June 1-15, down 4.06% from 1.729 billion liters a year earlier, Unica said. Hydrous ethanol output was 1.021 billion liters in the first half of June, up 10.01% from 928 million liters in the June 1-15 period of 2014, Unica said.
Production of anhydrous ethanol fell 20.35% to 638 million liters compared with output of 801.5 million liters a year earlier.
Brazil's Center-South sugar mills have produced a total of 6.578 billion liters from the start of the April 2015-March 2016 season through June 15, Unica said. That was up 0.24% from 6.562 billion liters a year earlier.
For the season to date, output of hydrous ethanol has reached 4.502 billion liters, an increase of 17.91% on the year from 3.818 billion liters. Production of anhydrous ethanol was down 24.35% at 2.075 billion liters. Sugar mills produced 2.744 billion liters of anhydrous ethanol a year earlier.