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Sugar Output Drops 6.9% in Brazil Region This Year on Weather

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, fell 6.9 percent this season through December after frost and drought harmed crops, industry association Unica said.

Output fell to 31.2 million metric tons from 33.5 million tons a year earlier, Sao Paulo-based Unica said in an e-mailed statement today. Most harvesting in the region usually takes place between March and mid-December.

Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar. Latin America’s largest economy produces about 54 percent of world exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Growers in the Center South, where about 90 percent of Brazil’s sugar and ethanol is produced, reaped 492.2 million tons of cane in the period, down 11 percent from a year earlier.

Ethanol output slumped 19 percent in the season, to 20.6 billion liters (5.4 billion gallons). Mills turned 48 percent of the cane into sugar and the rest into fuel. That compares with 45 percent a year earlier.

In December sugar output in the region plunged 59 percent to 179,000 tons, while cane production decreased 68 percent to 3.65 million tons. The decline partly reflects unusually high production in December 2010 because of an extension of the harvest after delays caused by heavy rains.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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