(Adds data, comments from industry group Unica) By Luciano Costa and Marcelo Teixeira SAO PAULO/NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Sugar production and ethanol exports increased sharply in Brazil in September as mills enter the final weeks of the current season, but the extremely dry weather started to hit cane agricultural yields, industry group Unica said on Friday. Brazil's center-south sugar output reached 2.86 million tonnes in the second half of September, 59% more than in the same period a year earlier, as mills sharply favor the sweetener in their production strategies at the expense of ethanol. Plants crushed 14% more cane in the period, or 40.22 million tonnes, with above-average dry weather boosting harvest pace. However, Unica said the excessive dry climate has started to hurt agricultural yields. Based on data from 90 mills in September, Unica said average yield was 71.97 tonnes of cane per hectare, 1.4% less than seen a year earlier. "That is still preliminary data, but shows a change on what we have seen so far in the season," said Unica's technical director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues. Yields this year had been higher than last year all the way from the start of the crop in April. Unica said ethanol exports increased 65% in September to 331 million liters, as mills take advantage of the weak currency to boost foreign sales. See below detailed figures from Unica's crop report (cane and sugar in million tonnes, ethanol* in billion liters, total recoverable sugar-TRS in kg per tonne): BRAZIL'S CENTER-SOUTH - 2ND HALF OF SEPT. (ANNUAL COMPARISON) 2019/20 2020/21 % CHANGE CANE CRUSH 35.20 40.22 14.26 SUGAR OUTPUT 1.79 2.86 59.57 ETHANOL OUTPUT 2.23 2.16 -3.30 TRS (kg/T) 157 161 2.58 CANE TO SUGAR 34% 46% BRAZIL'S CENTER-SOUTH CUMULATIVE DATA - 2019/20 VS 2020/21 2019/20 2020/21 % CHANGE CANE CRUSH 474 499 5.30 SUGAR OUTPUT 21.84 31.95 46.23 ETHANOL OUTPUT 25.34 23.44 -7.47 TRS (kg/T) 136 142 4.42 CANE TO SUGAR 35% 46% Source: Cane Industry Group Unica *Includes corn-based ethanol (Reporting by Luciano Costa and Marcelo Teixeira Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.