Sugar prices in New York surged to a 24-year high and have jumped 92% in the past year. Brazil, the world's biggest producer and exporter of sugar, converted more of its crop into ethanol fuel to cope with record gasoline prices. Raw sugar for March delivery rose above 18 cents a pound on the New York Board of Trade, the highest price since July 13, 1981.
Brazil, home to the world's largest ethanol industry, forecasts record production of 16.6 billion liters in the 12 months ending this September. Global demand for ethanol may quadruple to 20 billion gallons by 2010. Brazil has about 13.5 million acres planted with sugar cane currently. More than 200 million dormant acres lay ready to cultivate. About 40% of all the fuel that Brazilians pump into their vehicles is ethanol, known here as alcohol, compared with about 3% in the United States.
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