SAO PAULO: Sugarcane crushing in Brazil soared in early December on a yearly basis, industry group Unica said on Monday, as dozens of plants continue to operate this season after being forced to halt output earlier-than-expected due to bad weather a year ago.
Even so, crushing in Brazil’s centre-south region still missed market expectations amid increasing rainfall in the country’s main cane belt. Sugarcane processing jumped more than sevenfold year-on-year to 5.61 million tonnes, but analysts polled by financial information provider S&P Global Commodity Insights had forecast it to reach 6.58 million tonnes in the period.
“It seems rains in the first half of December were detrimental to operations, with some mills having to leave some cane standing in the fields,” said Luciana Torrezan, head of sugar analytics with S&P Global Commodity Insights, noting that almost five days of production were seen lost to rain in the period.
According to Unica, 47 mills were still operational by start of the second half of December, up from just seven a year ago, while 211 had ended crushing for the season - including 36 in early December.
The 2021/22 season is heading towards its end and markets now see a limited upside in supply until the next harvest picks up pace around April, Torrezan said.
Unica data showed that sugar output in the period reached 298,000 tonnes, up nearly 1,150% from the same period a year ago but also missing an expected production of 363,460 tonnes.
Ethanol production was up 144.7% to 482.62 million liters, also including fuel made from corn. Analysts’ forecast stood at 479.1 million liters.