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Brazil Region Crop Estimate Cut to 515 Million Tons at JOB

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April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar-cane growers in Brazil’s center south will harvest less than expected in the current crop year because of dry weather in the first quarter that cut yields, JOB Economia & Planejamento said.

The forecast for the region, where about 90 percent of the country’s sugar and ethanol is produced, was cut to 515 million metric tons from 530 million tons estimated on Feb. 15, the Sao Paulo-based researcher said in an e-mailed statement. Center south’s sugar output is seen at 32.8 million tons for the crop year started April 1.

“Crop yields are disappointing,” JOB partner Julio Maria Borges said today in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. “In order to offset lower crop yields, mills have decided to delay crushing to boost sucrose content.”

Center south is the main growing region in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar. Latin America’s largest economy produces about half of global exports of the sweetener.

Most mills in center south will start crushing in May, about a month later than in previous years, Borges said, to allow cane plants to accumulate more sucrose, the substance that’s turned into sugar and ethanol.

Sugar shipments from Brazil will increase 5 percent to 26.2 million tons, from 24.95 million tons in the previous crop year.

Raw sugar for July delivery fell 1.7 percent to 21.42 cents a pound by 11:54 a.m. on ICE Futures in New York.

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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