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21/09/2010 - Dow Jones
DJ Consultancy Trims Estimate For Brazil´s Main Cane Crush To 576M Tons

by Tony Danby.

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones) - Brazilian consultancy JOB Economia on Tuesday said that Brazil´s  main sugarcane crush is expected to dip to 576 million metric tons in 2010 from its earlier estimate of 600 million tons.

The estimate, however, remains above the 542 million tons last year for the center-south sugarcane crop, which accounts for 90% of the country´s cane.

Brazil, which is the world´s No. 1 sugar producer, has seen its sugarcane crush impaired due to prolonged dry weather, JOB Economia President Julio Borges said.

JOB Economia´s estimate is slightly above Brazil´s  Sugarcane Industries´ Association, or Unica´s, recent estimate of 570 million tons for the center-south region. Unica also recently cut its earlier crush estimate of 595 million tons.

Concerns about the impact of dry weather on the ongoing crush and next season´s crush have helped drive sugar prices skyward in recent weeks. However, raw sugar dipped for the second straight day Tuesday, falling 2.1% to 23.79 cents a pound for October delivery.

JOB Economia, which specializes in the sugar and ethanol sector, said sugar production from the center-south crop is seen at 33.5 million tons in 2010-11 compared to 28.6 million tons in 2009-10.

The center-south region should also produce 27 billion liters of ethanol in 2010-11 compared to 23.7 billion liters in 2009-10, it said.

JOB Economia said Brazil´s  main center-south region´s sugar exports should reach 23.5 million tons in 2010-11 compared to 20.6 million tons last season on a strong demand for the country´s sweetener.

Ethanol exports, however, should drop to around 2 billion liters from the main center-south region versus 3 billion liters a year ago as key markets such as the U.S. fail to import the alternative fuel.

Brazil´s  sugar and ethanol mills started crushing their cane in April and it the harvest will run through to December.

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