The volume of sugar expected to leave ports in top exporting-nation Brazil is shrinking at a time when it typically increases as the nation’s seasonal peak approaches.

Ports in the South American country are expected to ship 364,339 metric tons of sweetener in the coming weeks, half of the levels scheduled a year ago, according to shipping agency SA Commodities. Lineups should be rising, given the record-high volume of sugar to be delivered to settle the July contract on ICE Futures U.S.

“Demand continues to be weak while buyers are still stocked up following years of global surplus,” Bruno Lima, sugar head at INTL FCStone in Campinas, said in interview.

Last year, Brazilian sugar exports slumped to the lowest since 2008 after ample global supplies pushed down futures in New York, encouraging local millers to divert most of the cane juice to make ethanol. That slowdown is continuing this year, with shipments down 21% in the first half versus the same period of 2018, government data show.

Sugar stockpiles in the center-south growing area are probably 41% below last year and 37% below the five-year average, according to INTL FCStone. About 11% less sugar is being produced in this year’s crop than in the same period last year, according to industry group Unica.