Brazil's sugar industry association Unica on Thursday cut its forecast for 2012/13 sugar and ethanol output but said it expects a larger overall cane crop thanks to rains earlier this year. Unica expects the main center-south cane crop to yield 32.7 million tonnes of the sweetener in 2012/13, down 1.2 percent from the 33.1 million tonnes it forecast in April.

Unica's sugar export forecast was also down slightly at 23.5 million tonnes compared with 24 million tonnes from April. The center-south, which accounts for 90 percent of Brazil's sugarcane output, is expected to crush 518.5 million tonnes of cane, up from 509 million tonnes forecast in April, Unica said in its second official forecast of the season.

Brazil harvested 494 million tonnes of cane from last year's crop, its first drop in cane output in 11 years. Heavy rains in May and June boosted expectations for cane output in the world's top sugar exporter, but increased moisture reduces the percentage of sugar content in the cane, accounting for Unica's lower expectations for sugar and ethanol.

Unica forecasts ethanol output at 21.05 billion liters, down 2 percent from 21.5 billion liters seen in April, the association's president Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said at a press conference. Expected ethanol exports rose to 2.55 billion liters from 1.7 billion liters in April, however. Rising ethanol exports from Brazil could encourage the United States to import more sugar ethanol from Brazil in coming years to reach its biofuel mandates.

Mills are using 48.88 percent of the cane for sugar use and 51.12 percent for ethanol, meaning they are directing slightly more crush to sugar than initially thought. Sugar was seen using 48.75 percent of cane output in April, Padua Rodrigues said.

source: brecorder

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