Sugar production in Brazil's key Center-South region is expected to total 3.366 million mt in the second half of July, an increase of 36% year on year, an S&P Global Platts survey of 12 analysts showed Aug. 7.
Weather in the Center-South was favorable for crushing during H2 July with an estimated zero days lost to rain and approximately 260-265 mills active as of Aug. 1.
"The cane crushing is expected to reach another record high for a fortnight this year as H2 July had 16 days of crushing, one extra day than usual, and rains were absent," said Claudiu Covrig, senior sugar analyst with Platts Analytics. "Moreover, a total of 262-263 mills were operational, up 1-2 from previous fortnight, which leads to my expectations for around 49.7 million mt of cane crushed in the CS region in H2 July."
The proportion of cane used for sugar production is expected to be 48.6%, up from 31.5% a year earlier. Brazilian producers are expected to continue to maximize their sugar production, given the increased profitability of sugar production over ethanol production.
Platts assessed hydrous ethanol ex-mill Ribeirao Preto converted into raw sugar equivalent at 9.87 cents/lb on Aug. 6. The October NY11 sugar futures contract settled at 12.94 cents/lb on Aug. 6, proving a 3.07 cents/lb premium to hydrous ethanol in raw sugar equivalent.
"Although mills have maximized the sugar mix, the mix should be capped around 48.5%. Mills will be confronted with technical and logistical restraints on the amount of sucrose they can divert to sugar when trying to attain a higher sugar mix." Said Claudiu. "Therefore, for 2H July we expect the sugar mix to only show a slight increase from the previous fortnight to 48.4% from 47.94% in 1H July." said Claudiu.
Recoverable sugar per ton of sugar cane, or ATR, is expected to be 146.6 kg/mt, an increase of 3.8% year on year. Sufficient rains experienced during the summer and persistent dry weather in the Center-South since April 1 has allowed the cane to develop well and have excellent sucrose concentration.
Of the 12 analysts surveyed, the two largest producers estimated the total cane crush would be between 48.5 and 49.8 million mt.
Total ethanol output from sugar cane is expected to be 2,214 million liters, a decrease of 15.4% year on year.
Hydrous ethanol output was expected to be 1.500 billion liters, according to the average of the analysts' responses to the survey. This would be a decrease of 16.5% year on year. Anhydrous ethanol output in H2 July was expected to be 714 million liters, a decrease of 12.9% year on year.
The production mixture of hydrous to anhydrous ethanol was expected to be 67.8%. The pandemic-induced demand decrease for gasoline, hydrous ethanol's economic advantage over gasoline in the southeast, a 6% higher associated cost of producing anhydrous ethanol, and the ability for mills to substitute delivery of anhydrous ethanol with hydrous ethanol in previously agreed long-term purchase agreements for anhydrous ethanol with distributors were some of the reasons mills favored producing hydrous ethanol over anhydrous ethanol thus far in the 2020-21 harvest.