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Sugar Output in Brazil Region Drops 19% May 16-31

Sugar output in Brazil’s main producing region dropped 19 percent in the second half of May after rain slowed harvesting, an industry group said.

Output in Brazil’s Center South fell to 1.96 million metric tons between May 16 and May 31 from 2.41 million tons a year earlier, industry association Unica said in an e-mailed statement today. The current crop year started April 1.

Mills in the Center South, where about 90 percent of Brazil’s sugar and ethanol is produced, processed 35.6 million tons of cane in the period, down from 43.2 million tons a year earlier. Ethanol output fell 26 percent to 1.29 billion liters (341 million gallons).

Sugar mills turned about 48.3 percent of the cane into the sweetener in the second half of May, up from 46.1 percent a year ago. The rest was processed into ethanol.

Brazil’s Center South is expected to produce between 500 million and 505 million tons of sugar cane in the current crop, down from 490 million in the past season, Unica Chairman Pedro Parente said in Brasilia today.

Sugar production was forecast to rise 5.8 percent to 33.1 million tons in an April 12 report.

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