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Sugar Output Falls 6.6% in Brazil Center South This Crop

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, dropped 6.6 percent after growers harvested the smallest crop in four years, industry association Unica said.

Production fell to 31.3 million metric tons through Feb. 15, from 33.5 million tons a year earlier, Sao Paulo-based Unica said in an e-mailed statement today. The volumes were little changed from those reported previously because most of the region’s sugar cane was harvested and processed between April and December. The current crop year ends on March 31.

Sugar-cane fields in Brazil’s Center South, which produces about 90 percent of the country’s sweetener and ethanol, were damaged by freezing temperatures last year following a drought in 2010. Latin America’s largest economy produces about half of global sugar exports.

Growers in the region harvested 494.3 million tons of cane through Feb. 15, down 11 percent from a year earlier, Unica said.

Ethanol output declined 19 percent to 20.6 billion liters (5.4 billion gallons) in the period.

Mills turned 48.3 percent of the cane into sugar and the rest into ethanol. That compares with 44.9 percent processed into sweetener a year earlier.

Unica will release its first estimate for the next crop year by the end of March, according to the statement.

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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