Center-south cane crush was down 5.7 percent, and ethanol manufacturing was up 7.7 percent. For the season to date, April through December, sugar output is down 26.5 percent at 26.3 MMT due to both a drop in cane crush of 3.6 percent YTD and a low sugar share of 35 percent, down from 47 percent a year ago.
Meanwhile, December ethanol sales were up by a quarter from December 2017. The price differential between ethanol and gasoline still favors the former. Center-south ethanol sales from April through December are up 35 percent YOY.
Higher production costs are being reported, pressuring the sugar and alcohol sector even as Brazil’s overall ag exports peaked in 2018 at a record US$102 billion, up 6 percent YOY and up nearly 2 percent from the previous record set in 2013.