Brazil ethanol output slides 13% in first half of October

26 October 2011 22:03  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds missing word "litres" paragraph 9)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Ethanol production in Brazil's key centre-south region continued to fall in the first half of October, dropping by nearly 13% to 1.1bn litres compared with a year earlier, sugarcane industry association Unica said on Wednesday.

Ethanol production since the beginning of the centre-south sugarcane harvest on 1 April to 16 October totalled 18.2bn litres, a year-on-year reduction of 15.7%, the group said.

The centre-south accounts for 90% of Brazil's ethanol output.

Centre-south sugarcane production on 1-16 October totalled 23.4m tonnes, a drop of 10.8% against the same period of 2010, and a 36.4% reduction from the second half of September, data from Unica showed.

"The pace of production is within what is expected. The rain in the beginning of October and the end of the harvest by 46 mills explain the smaller volume of processed cane in the first half of the month," an Unica official said.

These mills that stopped production in the first half of October were responsible for 11.5% of the volume of processed sugarcane in the last harvest, the official added.

Unica said sugarcane crushing from 1 April to 16 October totalled 436.54m tonnes, a year-on-year drop of 7.3% from 471.11m tonnes.

Ethanol sales also fell between 1 April and 16 October.

Centre-south mills sold 11.9bn litres of ethanol in that period, which is 17.9% below the volume sold during the same months in 2010. Sales in the domestic market totalled 10.7bn litres, while only 1.2bn litres were exported, according to the Brazilian group.

The sugarcane harvest in the centre-south runs from April to November/December. Brazil also produces ethanol in its northeastern region, where the sugarcane harvest runs from September to March.

For more on ethanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: William Lemos
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