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Brazil raw sugar exports in March the lowest for the month since 2012

SAO PAULO, April 1 (Reuters) - Brazil, the world's largest sugar producer and exporter, shipped only 955,000 tonnes of raw sugar to foreign buyers in March, the lowest amount for that month since 2012, according to Brazilian Trade Ministry data released on Monday.

The small March export number is a result of reduced production in the 2018/19 season (April-March), when Brazil's center-south output fell by almost 10 million tonnes as mills opted to make more ethanol than sugar due to low global prices for the sweetener.

Raw sugar shipments in March were also below the volume seen in March last year of 1.365 million tonnes. Mills are starting to harvest the new cane crop, but expectations are for another year of strong ethanol production as the biofuel continues to give them better returns.

Ethanol exports in March, on the other hand, showed a recovery compared to last year as mills take advantage of large stocks after record production during the last season. Shipments reached 129.3 million liters versus only 65.9 million liters in March 2018.

See below Trade Ministry data for raw sugar and ethanol exports:

Commodity March 2019 February 2019 March 2018 ETHANOL (MLN LTR) 129,262 131,380 65,903 SUGAR RAW (TNS) 954,972 1,048,123 1,365,412

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and José Roberto Gomes; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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