By Marcelo Teixeira
NEW YORK, May 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian sugar mills lost 3 days of harvesting operations during the second half of April due to rains, according to estimates by analysts, who see production, however, jumping over the same period a year earlier.
Both S&P Global Commodity Insights, in a survey with 11 analysts, and EarthDaily Agro, a company that tracks weather conditions in Brazil's center-south region, projected the same number of days lost to rains.
Mills are forced to suspend field operations when rain volumes exceed around 8 millimeters (0.31 inch) per day.
The survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights indicates that mills crushed 25.59 million tonnes of sugarcane in the second half of April, what would be 6.6% more than last year. It sees sugar production at 1.24 million tonnes, 32% more.
Brazil's sugar industry group Unica is expected to release official data on production on Thursday or Friday.
EarthDaily Agro's analyst Felippe Reis said he expects a productive first half of May with no days lost to rains in the first 10 days of the month.
But he cited a forecast for rains in the second half of May with potential to stop operations on at least two days.
Brazil's new sugar crop became even more important for the global sugar market due to a supply tightness that drove prices to the highest in more than 11 years.SOF/L
(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by David Gregorio)
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