Brazil sees increase in ethanol production, sales in late July

By Holly Jessen | August 14, 2013

Brazilian ethanol sales were booming in late July, according to UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association. Specifically, sales by sugar mills in Brazil’s South Central region, the country’s main sugarcane producing region, are up more than 30 percent compared to sales early in the month as well as the same time period last year. “The increase in ethanol sales reflects the decision by mills to continue prioritizing production of the biofuel,” UNICA said in a press release.

More than 55 percent of the sugarcane processed went into ethanol production in the second half of July, up slightly from the 54.65 percent in the first half of the month. Looking back to the second half of July 2012, just more than 49 percent of the sugarcane processed became ethanol. Sugar mills in Brazil have the ability to process more or less ethanol, as compared to sugar, depending on market conditions.

Of the ethanol sold in the second half of July, the majority, or 1.13 billion liters, went into Brazil’s domestic market. Another 307.07 million liters were exported.

Looking at Brazil’s domestic market, anhydrous ethanol sales added up to 465.99 million liters in the second half of July. Hydrous ethanol sales, on the other hand, were significantly higher at 663.34 million liters. Hydrous ethanol sales in the full month of July totaled 1.21 billion liters, a more than 18 percent increase from June and a more than 31 percent increase compared to July 2012. “Considering that ethanol prices were economically advantageous for consumers in major markets, it was natural for us to expect an increase in hydrous ethanol consumption,” said Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, technical director for UNICA. He added that the trend is expected to continue as the price of hydrous ethanol at the pump has not changed.

Ethanol production, was up more than 6 percent compared to the first half of July and the same time period last year. In all, 1.90 billion liters was produced in the second half of July. Sugar production, however, dropped more significantly, from 2.97 million tons produced in the second half of July last year to 2.53 million tons produced in the same time period this year. That’s a nearly 15 percent drop. Looking at the start of the season through the end of July, 13.84 million tons of sugar has been produced while 11.33 billion liters of ethanol has been produced. Of total ethanol production, 6.66 billion liters were hydrous and 4.67 billion liters were anhydrous ethanol.