Brazil ethanol output falls 20% as sugarcane crop lags

26 August 2011 19:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Brazilian ethanol production fell by nearly 20% in the 2011 crop year to 16 August, industry group Unica said on Friday, blaming the decline on a smaller crop and reduced sugarcane yields.

Ethanol output for 1 April-16 August totalled 12.0bn litres, down from 14.8bn litres in the comparable 2010 period, the group said.

The figure refers to production in Brazil's key centre-south region, which accounts for 90% of the country's ethanol output and where most mills are represented by Unica.

The sugarcane harvest in the area runs from April to November/December.

Unica downplayed the drop in output, saying ethanol production remained at the expected pace, considering the low productivity of sugarcane fields.

The Brazilian group earlier this month cut its forecast for the 2011–2012 centre-south sugarcane crop by 4% to 510m tonnes, citing unfavourable weather patterns for crop development in recent months.

The new projection, which is below Unica's previous forecast of 533m tonnes, represents an 8% reduction from the 557m tonnes produced in 2010-2011.

Unica said the centre-south produced 297.6m tonnes of sugarcane from 1 April-16 August, a 12% drop from 338.1m tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

For more on ethanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: William Lemos
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