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Sugarcane mills in Brazil end season with rains damaging harvest




SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Most mills in Brazil's central-southern region, the world's leading cane producer, are ending crushing in the 2022/23 season, leaving millions of tons of the raw material in the fields for the 2022/23 harvest. next year, as the rains make operations difficult and inefficient.

Analysts and brokers believe the Brazilian sugar and ethanol season is essentially over, despite earlier expectations that mills would continue through December to try to crush available cane and cash in on high benchmark sugar prices.

“It is very likely that many mills decide, even though they have sugarcane to grind, to close down their activities, because the probability of trampling (by the machines) starts to get high, and trampling causes a reduction in the longevity of the ratoon cane. To avoid this, they decide to interrupt the milling”, said Plinio Nastari, president of the consultancy Datagro.

The Sugar Cane Industry Union (Unica) had expected more than 70 mills in the region to still be operating in December to crush available cane after a late start to the season in April, but that now looks unlikely.

“It has been raining in the center-south and this will make things difficult for these mills. Some may simply decide to close for the season,” said a US sugar trader..

According to Refinitiv's Eikon Agriculture Weather Dashboard, it will rain every day in the important sugarcane region of Ribeirão Preto, until at least December 19th.

Nastari says that around 8 million or 9 million tonnes of cane could be processed in the first quarter of 2023, before the official start of the new season in April.

This volume can mean around 800,000 tons of sugar.

The problems in Brazil are added to the difficulties of the Indian sugar season, also due to the rains, leading to a shortage of sugar availability at the moment.

Brazilian sugar premiums at the port of Paranaguá, the 2nd most important for shipments from Brazil, hit 100 points over futures this week, according to data from Datagro, one of the biggest spreads on record as traders turn to Brazil to compensate for delays in obtaining Indian sugar

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