Brazil centre-south sugarcane output to remain flat in 2012

28 March 2012 20:30  [Source: ICIS news]

SAO PAULO (ICIS)--Brazil’s sugarcane production will remain mostly flat in 2012, market sources said on Wednesday, estimating the country’s key centre-south region will produce around 500m tonnes of the ethanol feedstock.

The centre-south, which accounts for 90% of Brazil’s ethanol output, produced 492.23m tonnes in 2011, an 11.6% drop from 556.94m tonnes in the previous year, according to data from sugarcane industry association Unica. 

The reduction resulted mostly from dry weather and a lack of investments in the replanting of old sugarcane fields, market sources said on the sidelines of FO Licht’s eighth annual Sugar and Ethanol Brazil conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

The lack of investments and forecasts calling for continued dry weather in the centre-south will prevent any production growth in 2012, sources said, adding that Brazil will likely have to import ethanol - as it did in 2011 - to meet growing domestic demand. 

Brazil has around 700m tonnes/year of nameplate sugarcane capacity, but mills are unable to increase production because of the lack of raw material, a centre-south producer said. 

The centre-south sugarcane harvest runs from April to November/December.

Unica, which represents a large share of producers in the centre-south, has not yet released projections for the 2012 harvest. 

Brazil also produces ethanol in its northeastern region, but the sugarcane harvest in the area runs from September to March. 

The 2012 Sugar and Ethanol Brazil conference opened on Tuesday. The two-day event was organised in partnership with IBC Brasil. 

By: William Lemos
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