U.S. ethanol, DDGS exports fall slightly

Canada and Brazil top destinations for U.S. exports.

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 103.1 million gal.in August, down 12% from July shipments, according to recently released government data. The Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) analyzed the data, which showed that Canada and Brazil were again the top destinations for U.S. exports, combining to receive more than half of total exports in August. Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations stood at 906.5 million gal, indicating an annualized export total of 1.36 billion gal.

Top importer Canada brought in 38.7 million gal. of ethanol, while Brazil recorded 27.0 million gal. in of imports in August, down 20% from July. Through the first eight months of 2017, RFA research analyst Ann Lewis said Brazil was the top market for U.S. ethanol exports, accounting for 337.0 million gal., or 37%, of all export demand. On a year-to-date basis, Canada has been the number-two market with purchases of 218 million gal., capturing 24% of total exports, while India is quickly catching up to the leaders with 103.6 million gal., or 11%.

August exports of undenatured fuel ethanol withdrew by 21% to 46.5 million gal. Brazil imported 26.5 million gal., down 22% from July. The Philippines doubled its July import volume with 5.2 million gal., while the U.K. (4.2 million gal.), Switzerland (2.8 million gal.) and Jamaica (2.2 million gal.) jumped back into the market.

Canada decreased purchases of American denatured fuel ethanol by 23% but still maintained a solid hold on its top importer status with purchases of 29.2 million gal. – equivalent to 56% of total denatured exports. Notably, RFA reported that Oman entered the marketplace for the first time since February 2016 with a purchase of 11.0 million gal. in August. India (9.0 million gal.), Peru (2.4 million gal.) and Brazil (500,000 gal.) were destinations for the remaining bulk of denatured fuel ethanol shipments.

According to RFA, exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes rebounded from the prior month’s dip, with volumes more than doubling to 4.3 million gal. Nigeria (2.3 million gal.) and Canada (1.1 million gal.) took in nearly 80% of shipments, while South Korea (500,000 gal.) and Mexico (300,000 gal.) comprised the other top customers. 

For the fourth straight month this year, the U.S. recorded a meaningful fuel ethanol import volume, RFA noted. The U.S. brought in 17.9 million gal. of fuel ethanol from Brazil in August, which is the largest monthly volume in 21 months. Year-to-date imports totaled 42.2 million gal., indicating an annualized volume of 63.3 million gal. of imports.

Exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) were down 24% in August to 761,467 metric tons. RFA said Mexico remained the top customer out of 32 DDGS-importing countries, purchasing 172,470 mt and increasing its market presence with 23% of total demand. Turkey reduced imports by 61% to 72,376 mt, a nine-month low, while Indonesia boosted its offtake by 12% to 63,074 mt. South Korea (60,438 mt) and Canada (59.9 mt) rounded out the top five markets. RFA said demand in Vietnam has dwindled to just over 6,000 mt this year following phytosanitary sanctions implemented at the end of 2016; however, the U.S. could expect to see an increase in demand over the coming months, because the country lifted its ban Sept. 1. Total year-to-date DDGS exports to all countries stood at 7.3 million mt through August, indicating an annualized total of 10.95 million mt.

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