Platts Pre-Report Survey of Analysts Results: UNICA Sugarcane Crush - Brazil -- 1H December

Advance Estimates Suggest a 1H December Cane Crush of 19.22 Million MT in Brazil's Center-South

Likely 30.95% Sugar Mix for 1H December 2015: Analysts

18 Dec, 2015, 13:25 ET from Platts

LONDON and SAO PAULO, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Platts Survey of Analysts

  • Cane crush: 19.22 million metric tons (mt)
  • Total recoverable sugar (ATR): 114.39 kilograms per metric ton (kg/mt)
  • Sugar production: 658 kt
  • Total ethanol production: 894 million liters (ltr)
  • Hydrous ethanol production: 476 million ltr
  • Anhydrous ethanol production: 418 million ltr
  • Sugar mix: 30.95%
  • Ethanol mix: 69.05%

Sugarcane crush volumes in the key Center-South (CS) region of Brazil in the first half (1H) of December are expected to total 19.22 million mt, according to a Platts survey of analysts. Platts is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information and premier source of independent benchmark price references.

Wider analyst expectations for cane crush spanned 17.7 million mt to 22.6 million mt. Brazilian sugarcane industry group UNICA typically releases its bi-weekly sugarcane harvest data a few working days after the reporting period ends.

A Platts poll of analysts shows a consensus forecast for total recoverable sugar (ATR) at 114.39 kg/mt, with a wider range of 112-117 kg/mt. Analysts at Platts Kingsman, an agricultural analysis unit of Platts, forecast a slightly higher cane crush of 19.54 million mt and an ATR of 116.5 kg/mt, down 4.90 kg/mt from the second half of November.

Despite an estimated 6.5 days of crush lost to rain over the first half of December, if achieved, the 19.22 million mt of cane would be nearly 90% higher than crushed last year.

According to the Platts survey of industry analysts conducted this week, the sugar mix in 1H December is expected to be 30.95%, down 2.11 percentage points on 2H November and down 1.25 percentage points on the year. Heavy rains last month has prompted dozens more mills than usual to continue crushing much later into the year in an attempt to maximize output.

By the end of November only 47 mills had closed for the season compared to 137 at the same point last year, according to UNICA, while sources said a further 40 mills have concluded operations since the beginning of December.  

Platts Kingsman analyst Claudiu Covrig, who estimated 278 mills were operational through 2015, down from 285 in 2014, said persistent wet conditions remained a hindrance to those that remained open. "The will to crush is there, but the big problem is the weather. There were 90 more mills crushing in November compared to a year ago and that translated to just 5.5 million mt more cut cane. This year-over-year comparison testifies to the difficulties encountered in crushing through these wet conditions," he said.

"We estimate that despite more mills crushing, only 594 million mt of cane will be crushed this season (up to the second week of March 2016) and about 39.6 million mt of cana bisada will be carried over into the next season," Covrig noted.  So-called "cana bisada" refers to outstanding cane left in the fields to be crushed early next season.

Covrig said the cana bisada figure could be lower, depending on the weather heading into the New Year.

He said December already looks better than November and if the rains recede during January-February, there could be additional profit for millers to extract from this year's crop.

"At least one thing is sure: we shall witness a very short intercrop period -- most probably the shortest one in history," said Covrig.

LATE SWING TO ANHYDROUS

In terms of ethanol production, the average of analysts' expectations pointed to total output of 894 million liters, which would be an increase of 80 million liters compared from 2H November. This would take cumulative ethanol production since the start of the season on April 1 to 26.68 billion liters, up 3.84% from the same period a year earlier.

1H December hydrous ethanol production is expected to reach 476 million liters, an increase of more than 60% year on year, taking cumulative production to 16.34 billion liters, 9.65% higher versus a year ago.

Anhydrous output for 1H December is expected to be 418 million liters, up by almost one-third from the previous two-week period.

Better returns for hydrous has seen millers favor production of the ethanol road fuel over anhydrous for long periods of the season. A swing back towards anhydrous, which is a 27% blend of Gasoline C, the only gasoline blend available at Brazil's refueling stations, has been expected. But the crushing days lost to wet weather has raised concerns some mills could struggle to fulfil all contract obligations. Some companies are understood to be considering buying hydrous ethanol to dehydrate to satisfy demand.

Accumulated anhydrous production is expected to reach 10.34 billion liters, down 4.21% from the same point a year earlier.

CS Brazil Cane Production Data -- 1H December, 2015 (as of Dec 15)


Category       

Unit       

Survey  

Platts Kingsman

UNICA (2014)  

Cane crush

(million mt)   

19.22

19.54

10.16

ATR

(kg/mt cane)

114.39

116.50

122.14

Sugar output   

(thousand mt)   

657.48

668.00

383.18

Ethanol total  

(million ltr)  

893.62

920.00

497.51

Hydrous output 

(million ltr)  

475.93

470.00

295.81

Anhydrous output

(million ltr)  

417.69

450.00

201.70

Sugar Mix

(%)

30.95

30.80

32.20

Ethanol Mix    

(%)

69.05

69.20

67.80











CS Brazil Cane Production Data – 2H November, 2015 (as of Nov 30)


Category       

Unit       

Survey  

Platts Kingsman

UNICA

Cane crush

(million mt)   

18.07

21.50

18.74

ATR

(kg/mt cane)

120.18

120.00

119.29

Sugar output   

(thousand mt)   

763.33

910.00

704.10

Ethanol total  

(million ltr)  

814.15

970.00

881.20

Hydrous output 

(million ltr)  

496.76

505.00

453.20

Anhydrous output

(million ltr)  

317.46

465.00

428.05

Sugar Mix

(%)

36.82

36.50

33.06

Ethanol Mix    

(%)

63.18

63.50

66.94






Sources: Platts Pre-Report Survey of Analysts Results--UNICA Sugarcane Crush, Platts Kingsman, UNICA.





Visit the Platts and Platts Kingsman websites for more information on sugar and biofuels.

Contact Platts Communications to arrange interviews with Platts Kingsman sugar and ethanol analysts: Claudiu Covrig, Maria Nunez, Alessandra Rosete, and Beatriz Pupo; and Platt's sugar price assessments specialists: David Elward, Nicolle Monteiro de Castro and Darren Stetzel. If you would like to receive this on a regular basis, please select Agriculture at this alerts sign-up link.

Editor's Note: In its bi-monthly cane harvest update, UNICA publishes a range of sugarcane harvest production metrics for Brazil's Center-South region, also broken down into Sao Paulo and other states.

Media Contact:
Global, Americas, Asia: Kathleen Tanzy, + 1 917 331 4607, kathleen.tanzy@platts.com

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