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USA: Brazil sugar output sharply down late in Sept

Brazil’s center-south sugar output fell to only 1.28 million tonnes in the second half of September as rains reduced crushing activity and mills continued to allocate minimum amounts of cane to sugar production, industry group Unica said on Wednesday. Production of the sweetener was 55 percent lower than seen in the same period a year earlier, while cane crushing fell 31 percent to 27.6 million tonnes.

Unica said mills allocated only 33.08 percent of the cane to produce sugar, one of the lowest industrial mixes levels ever, earmarking all the rest to the production of ethanol as the biofuel currently gives them better financial returns. Ethanol production late in September, at 1.63 million tonnes, also fell from the previous two-week period and compared to the same period last year, although less than the drop seen for sugar. (See tables below) “The expansion on ethanol production, considering the changes in the industrial mix at mills, will result in a cut of sugar supplies this season of 9 million tonnes compared to the last crop,” said Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, Unica’s technical director.