Brazil cane mills pump out sugar in race against rains

SAO PAULO Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:06pm EDT

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian cane mills pumped out just over 3 million tonnes of sugar in the first two weeks of August with the help of dry weather, a volume 14 percent greater than the same fortnight a year ago, milling association Unica said on Thursday.

Despite the breakneck pace of sugar production in the past month and a half, mills in the region will not recover the time lost to rains earlier this season until mid-December, well into the rainy season, Unica President Antonio de Padua Rodrigues said.

Spring rains typically start between August and October and then intensify into the first quarter of the following year, which makes the crushing of cane and production of sugar and ethanol increasingly difficult. Mills tend to shut down around December until March or April, when rains ease.

(Reporting by Reese Ewing; editing by John Wallace)

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