BRAZIL: Sugarcane crush in the centre-south could fall 10% in 2018/19, says IDEA

Published: 05/04/2018, 4:52:49 PM

Sugarcane crush by mills in Brazil's centre-south should fall 10% in 2018/19, in relation to the last crop, preliminary estimates by consultancy firm Grupo IDEA showed, according to Brazil's Canaonline news website.

"The current estimate suggests that production could fall between 20 million and 40 million tonnes, reducing to 550 million-570 million tonnes of sugarcane at best," said Dib Nunes Jr., president of Grupo IDEA.

Sugar supply could be reduced by 6 million tonnes. "This is bad news for those (mills) that need to pay bills accumulated in recent years, reaching a significant sum of BRL80 billion (US$23.3 billion)," he added.

Low rainfall between October 2017 and April this year has aggravated the situation.

The recent drought that hit the centre-south sugarcane region had similar effects to the phenomenon registered in March and April of 2014, when maximum temperatures were well above the historical average by more than 4 degrees Celsius.

The São Paulo regions of Presidente Prudente, Araçatuba, Jaú, Araraquara and São José do Rio Preto were the most affected, where the growing process of plants stopped earlier than usually happens, interrupting the accumulation of mass in the sugarcane.

If rains do not resume in May and June, the fall in production could worsen, according to Dib.

Brazil is the world's largest sugar producer and exports about two-thirds of what it produces.

IDEA Group is completing its sugarcane crop forecast survey, and is expected to release its final figures within a few days.