NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - The global sugar market is heading to a small surplus of 1.62 million metric tons in the 2024/25 season (Oct-Sept), after posting a deficit of 1.79 million tons in 2023/24, as production in Thailand recovers, consultancy Datagro said on Wednesday.

Datagro projects Thailand's 2024/25 sugar production at 10.5 million tons versus 8.77 million tons in 2023/24 due to a larger planted area with sugarcane. The consultancy sees Brazil's Centre-South (CS) production falling 1.9% to 41.6 million tons due to drier-than-normal weather.

"Cane development (in Brazil) has not been as adequate and intense as we saw last year," said Plinio Nastari, Datagro's president, during a presentation at the Citi ISO Datagro sugar conference in New York ahead of the annual Sugar Dinner, a gathering of sugar market players.

India, the world's second largest sugar producer after Brazil, is projected to produce 31.5 million tons, down 900,000 tons from 2023/24.

Nastari said drier than normal weather in Brazil is leading to a quicker maturation of sugarcane, allowing mills to speed up harvesting. That would result in good amounts of sugar coming to market early in the new Brazilian crop, which started in April.

Global demand for sugar is expected to rise 2.8 million tons in 2024/25 to a record at 182.1 million tons, said Jose Orive, executive director of the International Sugar Organization.

He expects the market to remain supported in the mid-term since there is no major expansion in production projected for any regions.

Orive said it would be important if Brazil managed to improve port capacity since the country is reaching a record share of around 80% of global sugar exports.

There were delays of more than 1 month last year for vessels to dock at Brazilian ports to load sugar. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)