Leslie Josephs – The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, 05/13/2012
Sugar prices near 20-month lows have raised questions over Brazil’s future as a leader in both the sugar and ethanol industries.
The South American nation is the largest grower of sugar cane, which can be used to make sugar or ethanol from fermented sugar-cane juice. Its cane fields are growing old, and Brazil is grappling with how to reinvigorate them amid low prices and years of neglect in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
The industry is also trying to plot a course for ethanol production at a time when Brazil’s government—which determines how much ethanol is used in ethanol-gasoline blends and whose state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA,PBR -2.80% controls gasoline prices—is focusing attention on large offshore oil reserves.