U.S. ethanol exports up 85% during first quarter

Brazil, Canada and China are top customers for U.S. ethanol in first quarter.

Exports of U.S. ethanol are off to a strong start for the first quarter of the 2016-17 marketing year and are at their highest levels during that time frame over the past five years, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).

Exports totaled 353.2 million gal. for the months of September, October and November 2016, the first quarter of the 2016-17 marketing year.



Brazil, Canada and China were the top three customers for U.S. ethanol, respectively. India, Peru, South Korea and Mexico were the next largest markets for U.S. ethanol exports, totaling 62.4 million gal. over the same time period. According to the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), these top seven markets accounted for 88% of U.S. ethanol exports in the first quarter. As such, USGC said it, as well as industry partners, are currently or will be working these countries to further develop demand for U.S. ethanol.

Exports of U.S. ethanol to Brazil increased substantially to 111.6 million gal. in the first three months of the current marketing year, representing nearly a third of total U.S. ethanol exports -- the second highest volume of U.S. ethanol exports to that country over the last decade.

“Enforceable government ethanol mandates are driving the increases in Brazilian imports of U.S. ethanol, as Brazilian sugarcane has been diverted to sugar production to capture a price premium,” USGC noted. “To enforce its mandates, Brazil ramped up imports of price-competitive U.S. ethanol, highlighting the important role of trade in meeting ethanol mandates globally.”

U.S. ethanol exports to Canada totaled 87.8 million gal. during the first quarter of the 2016-17 marketing year. USGC said this is the highest level of U.S. ethanol imports by Canada during this time frame, with a 26% increase in imports over the first quarter of marketing year 2015-16.

USGC said it will continue working to increase ethanol demand. In fact, the council and its partners in global ethanol market development -- Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Assn. and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service -- recently conducted technical workshops in Asia and Latin America describing the positive environmental and public health benefits of increased ethanol use. USGC also uses trade missions to target countries, trade teams bringing stakeholders to the U.S. and industry working groups to support the development of the global ethanol market.

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