Ethanol exports from Brazil could drop by as much as 18% this season compared to last year, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).
UNICA is expecting a slight increase in ethanol production this year, however. “Ethanol production should reach 25.51 billion liters in the 2011/2012 season, a 0.52% increase compared to the last harvest, when the total reached 25.37 billion liters,” the organization reports. According to UNICA’s Technical Director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, increased ethanol production combined with a drop in exports will result in an increase of almost 500 million liters of the biofuel in the domestic supply. “However, this increase in ethanol supply for domestic use is lower than the expected growth in demand, given accelerated sales of flex vehicles,” he said.
Of the 25.51 billion liters of ethanol expected in the new season, 17.21 billion will be hydrous ethanol and 8.30 billion will be anhydrous ethanol. This volume of anhydrous ethanol is sufficient to meet the 25% blend with gasoline, even if a smaller share of the flex fuel fleet uses hydrous ethanol as expected, as consumers that own flex-fuel choose gasoline because of pricing.
The forecast for the 2011/2012 Brazilian sugarcane harvest calls for 568.50 million tons, up 2.11% compared to last year. The country is expecting an overall recovery in agricultural productivity after a lengthy dry spell, but UNICA is projecting that average productivity of the total sugarcane area for the 2011/2012 harvest will decline compared to the previous harvest, due to factors including the aging of cane fields and a reduction in the amount of cane that was not processed in the prior harvest and therefore has been growing for nearly two years.