(Adds quote, details from report)
SAO PAULO, Sept 10 Cane mills in center-south
Brazil increased their output of sugar and ethanol in the last
two weeks of August from the first half of the month, as they
operated near full capacity despite some wet weather.
Mills favored ethanol, allocating 51.37 percent of cane
processed to the biofuel. Sugar output rose 2.91 percent from
the first half of August to 3.2 million tonnes and ethanol
surged nearly 10 percent in the period because of high domestic
demand, local industry association Unica said on Tuesday.
Sugar output was down 3.74 percent from the same two weeks a
year earlier, however, when mills were favoring sugar.
Production of ethanol increased by 8.3 percent from a year ago.
Sales of ethanol in Brazil's center-south in August were up
21.4 percent from the same month in 2012 as prices for the
biofuel remained well below normal gasoline prices in most
Brazilian mills crushed 48.54 million tonnes of cane in the
second half of August. Unica said they were operating at almost
full capacity even though the normally dry season has been
wetter than usual.
"Very few days were lost by center-south producers in
August," Unica's technical director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues
wrote in the emailed report.
Though the cane crush is progressing well,
wetter-than-average weather in recent months, late July frosts
and a weakening local currency have prompted local forecasters
to revise expectations for this season's cane crush which is
expected total a record 580 million to 585 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Jim Marshall)