According to government data released today and analyzed by the RFA, January exports of 121.8 million gallons (mg) of U.S. ethanol registered as the third highest monthly volume on record in five years–behind October 2016 (131.6 mg) and November 2016 (121.9 mg). Most American ethanol landed in Brazil (58.9 mg, or 48%), Canada (26.4 mg, or 22%), India (11.1 mg, or 9%) and the United Arab Emirates (9%). January trade data implies annualized exports of 1.462 billion gallons, which would be a record level.

Exports of American undenatured fuel ethanol increased by 71% over December to an unparalleled volume of 92.9 mg. Two-thirds of those shipments (58.9 mg) arrived in Brazil, representing the highest monthly volume since the dataset began in 2012, and also besting the country’s previous high of 48.9 mg imported in November 2016. Other top markets like India (11.1 mg), the UAE (10.8 mg), the Philippines (5.8 mg) and Mexico (3.5 mg) also upped their purchases in January, with the UAE likewise buying a record amount of undenatured ethanol. Denatured fuel ethanol exports in January were 99.8 mg, down 25% from the prior month. Canada was again the leading importer with 92% of the market, with Peru (1.2 mg) and Colombia (985,267 gallons) capturing most of the remaining exports.

Sales of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel use fell to the lowest level on record, down 95% to 168,534 gallons. Canada (23%), South Korea (19%), the Philippines (17%) and Mexico (17%) were our largest customers. January sales of 2.4 mg in denatured ethanol for non-fuel use dropped back 57%, shipped primarily to Canada (8.6 mg, or 96%).

For all intents and purposes, January was absent of any fuel ethanol imports–save 8 gallons tendered to South Africa. In 2016, the U.S. shipped less than 35 mg the entire year, without a drop entering our borders in the final quarter. Based on January 2017 data, the United States would import under 100 gallons this year and net exports would continue to new heights.

Shipments of U.S. distillers grains at the start of 2017 increased by 9% over December as 937,628 metric tons (mt) were purchased by 38 countries. Mexico held firm as top dog for the second month with 177,857 mt (19%) heading south of the border, a 10% increase over December. Turkey again bought about 35% more DDG than the prior month, with 125,757 mt sold (13% of U.S. market share). China increased its purchases of U.S. DDG to 87,310 mt (9% of U.S. exports) after sales to that country bottomed out by the close of 2016 following imposition of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties against the United States. Other top markets for U.S. DDG were South Korea (70,065 mt), Thailand 62,321 mt) and Canada (58.028 mt). Vietnam’s new phytosanitary/fumigation requirements eliminated that market in January for U.S. shippers with only 520 mt entering the country compared to an average of 100,000 mt per month in 2016. Given total January DDG exports, the United States is on track to ship 11.25 million mt.