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60% of Brazil Sugarcane Being Used for Ethanol this Year

Ethanol stationDue to intermittent rainfall in virtually all sugarcane regions in
South-Central Brazil there was a 10.08% reduction in the volume of
crushed cane in the first half of June compared to the previous
two-week period, with the total reaching 32.64 million tons by June 15.

Even with the drop, the total volume from the start of the 2009/10 harvest to June 15 was 4.17% higher than during the same period in the previous harvest according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA)'s twice-monthly reports.

The total amount of cane crushed by June 15 reached 142.15 million tons, 31.91% higher than in the in the same period a year ago, a difference that's equivalent to two-weeks' worth of processed sugarcane.

The increase in cane volume comes in spite of unfavorable climate conditions, which caused a two-day stoppage in cane crushing during the second first half of June and may lead to a one-week break in some regions during the second half of the month.

Between June 1st and 15, sugar production totaled 1.75 million tons, which consumed 43.05% of the cane harvested in the period. That total is 15.02% higher than in the same period last year. So far in the current harvest, 40.82% of all the cane processed has been used for sugar production, leading to a total for the year to date of 6.75 million tons, 43.22% more than in the previous harvest.

As projected by UNICA at the beginning of the harvest, mills equipped to produce both sugar and ethanol have focused on sugar production because of current international price levels. According to CONSECANA (Sao Paulo Cane, Sugar and Ethanol Producers Council), projected sugar prices for July should be 46% higher than ethanol prices in both domestic and foreign markets.

Ethanol production in the first half of June consumed 56.95% of all harvested cane, for a total of 1.41 billion liters (372.5 million US gallons) – 0.06% more than in the previous crop for the same period.

So far in the 2009/10 harvest, 59.18% of all the cane processed has been used in ethanol production, resulting in 6.02 billion liters (1.6 billion US gallons), an increase of 28.34% compared to the same period in the 2008/09 crop.

The amount of product obtained per ton of crushed cane (ATR, in the Portuguese acronym) in the first half of June reached 129.65 kilograms of recoverable sugar, compared to 127.75 kilograms of ATR in the same period last year. The current year-to-date total is 122.03 kilograms, versus 120.48 kilograms in the previous crop total by June 15.

The expanding flex-fuel vehicle fleet and favorable ethanol prices for consumers were major drivers in the steady increase in the volume of ethanol delivered by producers in South-Central Brazil. Total ethanol production for June is expected to reach 1.9 billion liters (502 million US gallons): 1.4 billion liters (370 million US gallons) of hydrous ethanol for flex-fuel vehicles and 500 million liters (132 million US gallons) of anhydrous ethanol for gasoline blending.

Ethanol exports from Brazil's South-Central region producers between the end of April and mid-June reached 776 thousand cubic meters, of which 650 thousand were hydrous ethanol shipped to Caribbean countries for further processing into anhydrous ethanol and shipment to the US market.

Through June 16, a total of 52 mills with production forecast for the 2009/10 harvest – 22 of which are brand new mills set to begin operations this year, have yet to begin the cane crushing process. The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) maintains its total cane crushing forecast for the current crop at 550 million tons, as well as its initial estimates of ethanol and sugar production.

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country's South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country's sugarcane harvest and 60% of total ethanol production.

UNICA develops position papers, statistics and specific research in support of Brazil's sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors.

In 2008, Brazil produced an estimated 565 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 31.3 million tons of sugar and 25.7 billion liters (6.8 billion gallons) of ethanol, making it the number-one sugarcane grower and sugar producer in the world, and the second-largest ethanol producer on the planet, behind the United States.

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