Center-South Brazil H1 May sugar production drops 12.4% on year: survey

May 21, 2021
S & P Global Platts |


Sugar's share of H1 May cane crush decreased to 46.2%: analysts

H1 May hydrous ethanol output decreased 15.7% on year: survey

Sugar production in the key Center-South Brazil region is expected to total 2,178 thousand mt in the first half of May, a decrease of 12.4% year on year, an S&P Global Platts survey of 10 analysts showed May 21.

Of the analysts surveyed, the cane crush estimate ranged from 35.6 million mt to 40.9 million mt. The average estimate was for a total cane crush of 38.8 million mt, an 8.3% drop year on year.

"The drop in cane crushed, sugar output, and ethanol produced can be explained by less mills in operation as of May 16 compared to last year," said a Sao Paulo-based trader. "A two-week delay to the start of the harvest because of poor cane maturation has caused a ripple effect with a delayed pace of the harvest."

Weather in the Center-South was favorable for crushing during H1 May, with an estimated 0.8 day lost to rain and about 230-240 mills active as of May 16.

The proportion of cane used for sugar production is expected to be 46.2%, down from 47.0% a year earlier. Although Brazilian producers were taking advantage of the recent high prices of hydrous and anhydrous ethanol, long-term expectations are for mills 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 16.10 cents/lb on May 20. The July NY11 sugar futures contract settled May 20 at 17.04 cents/lb, providing a 0.94 cents/lb premium to hydrous ethanol in raw sugar equivalent.

Recoverable sugar per ton of sugar cane, or ATR, is expected to be 127.4 kg/mt, a decrease of 2.8% year on year.

Total ethanol output from sugar cane is expected to be 1.61 billion liters, a decrease of 12.1% year on year.

Hydrous ethanol output was expected to be 1.12 billion liters, according to the average of the analysts' responses to the survey. This would be a decrease of 15.7% year on year. Anhydrous ethanol output in H1 May was expected to be 480 million liters, a decrease of 4.7% year on year, according to the survey.

Industry association UNICA is expected to release its official production figures in the upcoming days.