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Rains settling over Brazil sugar belt to vex ports
Wet weather that entered Brazil’s main center-south cane belt over the past week is expected to linger through the rest of June, complicating the production and export of sugar, local forecaster Somar said.
The center-south, which has entered into the peak crushing months for a record 590 million ton crop, will likely post weak sugar and ethanol production numbers this month after harvesting record quantities in the first half of May.
Crushing and production slowed in late May after rains disrupted field work. Additional showers caused some mills in the region to lose as many as seven days of crushing in early June, industry association Unica said. And the second half of this month looks to be rainier still.
“The cold front building between Argentina and Paraguay will spread rain over Sao Paulo and Parana from June 24,” Somar meteorologist Graziella Goncalves said. “There will not be much dry weather over the cane belt until July.”
Brazil’s center-south is now in its June-September dry season, when cooler and drier conditions typically allow cane crops to concentrate sugars and mills to harvest. Rains make harvest and sugar production difficult.
Goncalves said another front would push through center-south Brazil between June 27 and 28, which could bring more rains that could slow harvest as well as loading of sugar at the southern ports, including Santos, Brazil’s most important sugar port.
Rain at the ports causes ships to stop loading bulk raw sugar. Brazil accounts for half the world’s sugar exports.
“July looks to be drier in the main cane regions of Sao Paulo,” Goncalves added.
Global sugar markets have been volatile in recent weeks, with New York ICE futures prices trading at 16.65 cents/lb, the lowest since July 2010. The rains may take some pressure off recent physical selling that traders say has picked up due to the recent depreciation in the real against the dollar. (Reuters)
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