UNICA: Demand for hydrous ethanol is down

By Erin Voegele | December 11, 2015

UNICA, Brazil’s sugarcane industry association, has announced rains slowed the pace of the sugarcane crush during the second half of November. The association also reported reduced demand for hydrous ethanol.

Mills in the nation’s south-central region processed 18.74 million tons of sugarcane during the second half of the month, up 18.85 percent from the same period last year, but down 26.91 percent from the first half of the month.

Only 47 producing units had wrapped up the harvest as of the end of November, compared to 137 units at the same time last year. According to UNICA, from the start of the current season through the end of November, the region crushed 562.29 million tons of sugarcane, up 1.64 percent from the same period of the prior year. During the same time period, total recoverable sugars was 132.66 kilograms per ton, down from 137.04 kilograms during the same period of last year.

Approximately 66.64 percent of sugarcane processed during the second half of November went to ethanol production, up from 63.44 percent last year. Ethanol production for the second half of the month reached 881.24 million liters (232.8 million gallons), including 428.05 million liters of anhydrous ethanol and 453.19 million liters of hydrous ethanol.

From the start of the current season through the end of November, ethanol production reached 25.79 billion liters, including 15.87 billion liters of hydrous ethanol and 9.92 billion liters of anhydrous ethanol, up 2.34 percent from last year.

According to UNICA, ethanol sales reached 2.52 million liters in November, with 269.21 million liters destined for export and 2.25 billion liters supplying Brazil’s domestic market. Hydrous ethanol sales into the domestic market totaled 1.44 billion liters, up 23.15 percent from 1.17 billion liters sold during November 2014.

Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, technical director for UNICA, noted that “these sales statistics indicate a drop in demand for hydrous ethanol.” The rate of growth of hydrous ethanol sales into the domestic market was above 40 percent through September, reached 36.44 percent in October, and dropped to 25.15 percent in November, Rodrigues said.

Ethanol sales have totaled 20.27 billion liters so far this year, including 18.77 billion liters to supply Brazil’s domestic market and 1.5 billion liters for export. The combined sales are 24.87 percent higher compared to last year.