According to a bi-weekly report from industry group Unica released on Wednesday, center-south mills produced 2.37 million tonnes of sugar in the first half of May, only 4.4% less than in the same period a year earlier.
Cane crush was at 41 million tonnes, 3% below 2020, while ethanol production was 0.6% below last year's levels at 1.81 billion liters.
Drier-than-normal weather in recent months in Brazil hurt sugar cane development and led plants to have a slow start to harvest in the current season. Cane crush late in April was 22% smaller than a year earlier to 29.6 million tonnes, Unica said.
Brazil's centre-south sugar output was only 624,000 tonnes in the first half of April versus 971,000 tonnes in a similar period last year. Cane crush was seen at 15.6 million tonnes, 30% less than in 2020, Unica said.
Consultancy Datagro sees Brazil's center-south sugar output falling to 36.7 million tonnes in 2021/22 (April-March) versus 38.5 million tonnes in the previous season, saying mills will crush 3.5% less cane at a total of 586 million tonnes.
Sugar trader Sucden expects an even smaller sugar cane crush at 575-580 million tonnes. Sucden also expects less sugar content in the cane in the new crop, projecting total sucrose to fall around 10%.