U.S. ethanol exports totaled 93.6 million gal. in October, up 8% from September shipments, according to government data released this week and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Assn.
Ann Lewis, research analyst for the association, noted that Canada was again the top destination for U.S. exports, at 33.9 million gal. (more than one-third of total exports) — an 18% increase over September. Spain was the second-leading market for U.S. ethanol in October, making its first meaningful purchase in 37 months and taking in 13.4 million gal. India's imports of U.S. ethanol fell 35% from September to 13.2 million gal., but that was good enough to rank third in October.
U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first 10 months of 2017 stood at 1.09 billion gal., indicating an annualized export volume of 1.30 billion gal.
Four countries — Canada, Spain, India and Brazil — accounted for 78% of all shipments in October, while another 20% was parsed out among seven other markets.
Exports to Brazil in October ticked downward for the third straight month, which Lewis said was likely a result of the nation implementing a tariff rate quota and 20% tariff in September. U.S. shippers sent 12.9 million gal. of ethanol to Brazil, which was a 32% decrease from September.
According to the data, October exports of undenatured fuel ethanol decreased 12% to 43.0 million gal. — the lowest volume in 13 months — as the two largest undenatured markets significantly decreased their imports. The U.S. shipped 13.2 million gal. to India (down 35%) and 12.9 million gal. to Brazil (down 32%). The Philippines (4.6 million gal.), Mexico (3.0 million gal.) and Spain (2.9 million gal.) rounded out the top five largest markets for undenatured product.
U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol recovered in October, with a 47% increase to 46.6 million gal. Canada (32.9 million gal.) and Spain (10.5 million gal.) represented the lion's share of the denatured fuel ethanol export total, Lewis said.
Overseas sales of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased by a third to 2.2 million gal. Saudi Arabia purchased 1.7 million gal. (76% of exports), with the remaining volumes distributed to multiple countries. Exports of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased 34% to 1.8 million gal., with Canada (900,000 gal.), Nigeria (400,000 gal.) and Mexico (400,000 gal.) as the primary customers.
Lewis also noted that the U.S. recorded meaningful fuel ethanol import volumes for the sixth straight month this year, with 2.9 million gal. of Brazilian undenatured ethanol on the books in October. Year-to-date fuel ethanol imports totaled 55.8 million gal., a 66% increase over the same period last year. Still, annualized import volumes are estimated at just 66.9 million gal.
Data also showed that exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) expanded 14% in October to 903,290 metric tons (mt), which Lewis said is the largest volume in seven months. The top three customers increased purchases over September levels, with Mexico remaining the top destination at 205,899 mt, up 15% from September. Other leading destinations included Turkey at 115,559 mt (up 35%), Vietnam at 102,004 mt, South Korea at 84,642 mt and Indonesia at 84,448 mt.
“Notably, Vietnam's imports of U.S. DDGS in October were the first significant volume to enter in 10 months and signify a return to healthy trading volumes after resolving phytosanitary sanctions against American product,” Lewis said.
Total year-to-date DDGS exports to all countries stood at 9.2 million mt through October, indicating an annualized total of 11.08 million mt.