South-Central Brazil mills crush 36.67 million tons of sugarcane in second half of September, up 37.7% year-over-year, Unica says; anhydrous ethanol output up 40.52% to 661.24 million liters

SAO PAULO , October 13, 2011 (press release) – The volume of sugarcane crushed by mills in the South-Central region of Brazil by October 1st totaled 411.99 million tons. The number represents a drop of 7.39% in comparison to the total observed during the same period in the last harvest.

Considering only the second half of September, crushing in the South-Central region actually grew, reaching 36.67 million tons against 27.23 million for the same period in 2010. The overall total for the month of September was also higher than a year ago: the volume of processed cane reached 73.74 million tons, compared to 64.73 million tons during the same period in 2010.

According to the Technical Director for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, "the scenario is as expected and it is natural that there is a slowdown in terms of crushing in coming weeks." He warns that currently, about 20 mills have already wrapped up their harvest season, most of them in the traditional sugarcane-producing region of São Paulo, which experienced a significant reduction in agricultural productivity without any expansion in the planted area to make up for the loss.

Data collected by the Center for Sugarcane Technology (CTC) shows that agricultural productivity for sugarcane fields harvested in September in the South-Central region reached 63.6 tons of cane per hectare, a drop of more than 10% compared to the same month in 2010. Overall agricultural productivity since the beginning of the harvest tumbled 18% compared to the same period in the previous harvest.

Quality of Raw Material

During the second half of September, the quantity of Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR in Portuguese) reached 156.37 kg per ton of crushed cane, 4.38 kg above the amount obtained in the first half of the month, but 13.12 kg below the same period of the 2010/2011 harvest. Overall ATR levels from the beginning of the harvest to October 1st totaled 136.46 kg per ton, against 141.41 kg a year ago.

Rodrigues points out that "the rising ATR levels observed in recent weeks was quite intense, which reduced the impact of lower agricultural productivity in the supply of sucrose available for the production of sugar and ethanol." However, field analyses indicate that in the following weeks, traditional end-of-harvest patterns will return and ATR levels are expected to drop.

Production

Of the total volume of raw material processed from the beginning of the harvest to the start of October, 51.51% was directed to the production of ethanol and the remaining 48.49% to the production of sugar. As a result, sugar production totaled 25.98 million tons on October 1st, a drop of 4.19% compared to to the same period of the 2010/2011 harvest. Total ethanol production reached 16.99 billion liters, of which 6.56 billion liters were anhydrous and 10.43 billion were hydrous ethanol.

During the second half of September, sugar production totaled 2.84 million tons while 1.62 billion liters of ethanol were produced. It should be noted that anhyudrous ethanol production reached 661.24 million liters during that two-week period, a volume 40.52% greater than the 470.56 million liters produced during the same period of the last harvest.

According to UNICA's Rodrigues, "despite the reduction in the amount of anhydrous ethanol blended in gasoline, from 25% to 20%, mills are maintaining their pace of production." This is important to avoid any supply problems during the upcoming interharvest period, he added.

Ethanol Sales

Ethanol sales by mills in the South-Central region totaled 1.82 billion liters in September, 22.86% below the volume sold during the same period in 2010. The drop in production was intensified by a 36.60% drop in sales of hidrated ethanol, which totaled 1.12 billion liters in September compared to 1.76 billion liters a year before. That was partially offset by a 17.91% increase in anhydrous ethanol sales, which reached 701.20 million liters for the month.

Overall ethanol sales by mills in South-Central Brazil between April and October reached 11.02 billion liters, down 17.28% compared to the same period last year. Of that total, 4.09 billion liters were anhydrous while 6.93 billion liters were hydrous ethanol.

Of the 11.02 billion liters sold from the beginning of the harvest to October 1st, 9.97 billion liters were sold in the domestic market while exports totaled 1.06 billion liters, a drop of 10.09% compared to the 1.18 billion liters exported during the same period of the 2010/2011 harvest.

Bi-Weekly bulletin - 2011 / 2012 Sugarcane Harvest in South-Central Brazil, position on October 1, 2011.

ABOUT HARVEST DATA: The data released in this harvest update was compiled and analyzed by UNICA, with figures provided by the following syndicates and associations of producers from the South-Central states:

ALCOPAR - Association of Producers of Ethanol and Sugar in the State of Paraná
BIOSUL- Association of Bioenergy Producers of Mato Grosso do Sul
SIAMIG- Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Industries in the State of Minas Gerais
SIFAEG- Syndicate of Fabrication of Ethanol Producers of the State of Goiás
SINDAAF- Fluminense Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Producers
SINDALCOOL- Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Industry of Mato Grosso
SUDES- Society of Plants and Distilleries of the State of Espirito Santo

ABOUT UNICA: The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country's South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 60% of the country's sugarcane harvest and of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics and specific research in support of Brazil's sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors. In 2010, Brazil produced an estimated 620 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 38.1 million tons of sugar and 27.4 billion liters of ethanol, making it the number-one sugarcane grower and sugar producer in the world and the second-largest ethanol producer on the planet, behind the United States.

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