Mills in Brazil boost ethanol output, cut sugar as season nears end
By Marcelo Teixeira
SAO PAULO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Mills in Brazil's center-south region increased ethanol production and cut sugar output in the first half of November as the season draws to an early close, industry group Unica said on Tuesday.
Plants in the main Brazilian sugar belt produced 786,000 tonnes of the sweetener early in November, 11% less than in the same period a year earlier, while ethanol output rose 19% to 1.29 billion liters. Unica said 120 mills had finished cane processing for the season by Nov. 16 compared with only 86 at this time last season.
Mills allocated only 28% of the cane in the first half of November to sugar production, compared with 34% at this time last season, a sign that the companies are heading to an even stronger focus on the biofuel at this stage of the crop.
Ethanol has given better financial returns for mills during the entire season, as global sugar prices remain in a price range seen by analysts as barely covering production costs.
In fact, the cumulative data for the season so far (see tables below) shows mills are heading toward a new record-low allocation of cane to sugar production, below the 35% level seen last season.
See below detailed figures from Unica's crop report for the first half of November (cane and sugar in million tonnes, ethanol in billion liters, total recoverable sugar-TRS in kg per tonne):
BRAZIL'S CENTER-SOUTH - 1ST HALF OF NOV (ANNUAL COMPARISON)
CANE TO SUGAR
BRAZIL'S CENTER-SOUTH CUMULATIVE DATA - 2018/19 VS 2019/20
CANE TO SUGAR
Source: Cane Industry Group Unica
(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; editing by Jonathan Oatis)