Santos, Brazil — The sugarcane crush in the key Brazilian Center-South region is expected to total 41.90 million mt for the first 15 days of July, which would be a 7.3% decrease from 45.21 million mt in the year-ago period, an S&P Global Platts survey showed Monday.
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Among the 11 analysts surveyed, a large producer estimated the total cane crush would be lower than 40 million mt, while another producer pointed to a crush of more than 44 million mt. The range across the analysts surveyed was at 39 million mt-44.5 million mt.
The proportion of cane used for sugar production in the Center-South in H1 July is expected to be 36.94%, down from 38.31% in the year-ago period.
As ethanol continues to pay a better price than sugar, more cane is expected to be moved toward biofuel production.
Platts assessed hydrous ethanol converted to raw sugar equivalent at 14.02 cents/lb on Friday, while on the same day Platts assessed VHP sugar, FOB Santos for August
shipment at 11.33 cents/lb, showing hydrous ethanol was paying 269 points or $59.30/mt more than raw sugar at that point.
Industry association UNICA is expected to release its official production figures in the coming days.
Analysts surveyed by Platts believe that an average of 1.2 days of crush were interrupted by rain in the 15-day period surveyed.
Expectations for the cane's total recoverable sugar (ATR) came in at 137.4 kg/mt, or 5.4% below the previous year's 145.1 kg/mt. The analysts surveyed by Platts provided estimates in a range between 134.7 kg/mt and 139.3 kg/mt.
Sugar production was expected to total 2.019 million mt in H1 July, a plunge of 16% year on year. If the estimates prove to be right, it will mean cumulative sugar production will reach 10.924 million mt since April 1, or 1.247 million mt less than in the prior 2018-19 crop cycle.
Despite a higher proportion of the cane being devoted to ethanol, total ethanol output from sugarcane is expected to reach 2.167 billion liters, down 9% year on year.
Hydrous ethanol output was expected to reach 1.45 billion liters, according to the average of the responses from analysts survey. This would be down 8.7% from a year ago. Anhydrous ethanol output through H1 July was expected to reach 708 million liters, down 9.6% from a year ago.
This lower ethanol output, combined with a strong hydrous ethanol consumption has been triggering strong prices for hydrous ethanol. Platts assessed hydrous ethanol ex-mill Ribeirao Preto at Real 2,070/cu m on Friday, a record price for any July month since Platts began assessing the price in 2014.
-- Nicolle Monteiro de Castro, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phillip Herring
-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com