April ethanol production, sales up in South-Central Brazil

By UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Association | May 21, 2013

The sugarcane crush in Brazil’s South Central region from the start of the 2013/14 season through April 30 totaled 41.01 million tons, compared to 14.13 million tons processed during the same period last year.

Of the total crush so far in 2013/14, 31.54 million tons were processed during the second-half of April, a significant increase from the 9.40 million tons processed during the first half of the month.

“This growth in the crush was expected because after April 15 there was practically no stoppage of harvest activities caused by weather conditions,” UNICA Technical Director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said. Furthermore, several mills began their operations for the current harvest in the second half of the month, contributing to the increase in the volume processed, Rodrigues added.

According to a periodic survey conducted by UNICA, 220 mills in the South Central region were operating on May 1, compared to 154 mills in operation a year earlier and 144 mills operating on April 15, 2013. Practically all regional units that didn’t kick off the harvest in April are expected to be up and running in May.

Of the total sugarcane harvested from the start of the 2013/14 season through April 30, 39.93 percent  went toward sugar production and 60.07 percent to ethanol production. During the second-half of April, the share of raw material directed to ethanol production remained practically at the same level observed previously, amounting to 58.05 percent.

From the start of the current season through April 30, sugar production in the South-Central region totaled 1.69 million tons, with 1.45 million tons produced during the second-half of April.

From the start of the current season through April 30, ethanol production totaled 1.58 billion liters – 400.99 million liters of anhydrous ethanol and 1.18 billion liters of hydrous ethanol – representing a 180 percent increase from the amount of ethanol produced over the same period last year. During the second-half of April, ethanol production totaled 1.24 billion liters – 361.77 million liters of anhydrous ethanol and 878.64 million liters of hydrous ethanol.

“This year the start of the crush was brought forward by the mills because of the greater volume of cane available for processing,” Rodrigues said. “In addition, the companies prioritized the production of ethanol to supply the domestic market, primarily with regard to the higher anhydrous blend rate in gasoline that came into effect on May 1.”

Ethanol sales by South Central mills totaled 1.59 billion liters in April, a 13.96 percent increase compared to April 2012.

The increase stemmed essentially from sales in Brazil’s domestic market, which totaled 1.52 billion liters compared to 1.32 billion liters in April 2012, an increase of 14.91 percent. Exports during April totaled 70.71 million liters.

In Brazil’s domestic market, anhydrous ethanol sales totaled 546.73 million liters in April, up 15.32 percent over the same period last year. Domestic hydrous ethanol sales totaled 971.83 million liters in April, a 14.68 percent increase compared to April of 2012.

During the second-half of April, ethanol sales totaled 850.84 million liters, of which 50.90 million liters were for export and 799.94 million liters supplied Brazil’s domestic market.

“The growth in ethanol sales into the domestic market in April of this year surpassed expectations,” Rodrigues said. “This market should remain strong in the coming months due to the drop in ethanol prices at the pump and to the communication effort that has been undertaken to make consumers aware of the advantages associated with the biofuel,” he added.