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February 26, 2021

Brazil Sets Records for 2020/21 Sugar Production and Sugar Exports

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

With a month to go in the 2020/21 sugar production year (April 2020 to March 2021), Conab is estimating that Brazil will set records for sugar production and sugar exports. Brazil's sugar production in 2020/21 is estimated at 41.8 million tons, which would be an increase of 40% compared to last year. Sugar exports in 2020/21 are also expected to be record high.

Even before the end of the production year which ends in March, Brazil has already set a record by exporting 28.4 million tons of sugar between April of 2020 and January of 2021 according to the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX). During the same prior the previous year, Brazil exported 18.9 million tons.

The reason for the record production and exports are strong sugar prices and sugar producers in Brazil opting to produce more sugar and less ethanol due to the reduced demand for ethanol resulting from lockdowns caused by the pandemic.

In their third assessment of the 2020/21 sugarcane crop in Brazil, Conab estimated that Brazil's sugarcane production increased 3.5% with an acreage increase of 1.9% and a productivity increase of 1.5%. Their fourth assessment of the crop will be released at the end of April.

Prospects for the 2021/22 production year, which will start in April, are also looking positive with continued strong sugar prices and a favorable Brazilian currency.

There are some concerns that the delayed start to soybean exports from Brazil might interfere with new-crop sugar exports that will start in May. An estimated 80% to 90% of Brazil's sugar exports are through the Port of Santos, but at the port, there are designated warehouses and docks just for sugar exports. The delayed soybean exports could result in increased truck traffic and traffic jams, but that should not interfere with the actual sugar exports.