U.S. ethanol exports in February dropped significantly from January levels, scaling back by a third as shipments of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 42.5 million gallons (mg), according to government data released Friday. U.S. monthly ethanol exports have been below this level only once in the last two years. Year-to-date exports are running 30% lower than this time last year, and the U.S. is on pace to export 637 mg in calendar year 2013. However, for the second month in a row, the U.S. was a net exporter of ethanol. Notably, exports to the European Union were virtually non-existent in February.
Shipments of denatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 28.1 mg, a 33% decrease from January. Canada was again the leading destination for denatured product, receiving 21.6 mg (77%) of February exports. The remaining volumes went to the United Arab Emirates (5.0 mg), Peru (1.1 mg), and the Netherlands (0.4 mg). Exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use experienced a similar drop, down 32% from January to 13.3 mg. Brazil took the lead as the largest recipient of undenatured product for fuel use with 5.9 mg (44%), followed by the Philippines (3.9 mg), and Mexico (3.4 mg). Shipments of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use fell 42% in February to 1.2 mg.
Meanwhile, the data showed 20.0 mg of fuel ethanol imports in February, a 57% decrease from January levels and the lowest level since May 2012. Nearly half of imports came from Jamaica (9.3 mg), with the remainder from El Salvador (5.5 mg) and Brazil (5.3 mg).
Exports of distillers grains bumped 6% over January levels to 617,894 metric tons (mt) — on par with 2012 average monthly exports. China returned to take the lead as the top destination with a quarter of the February U.S. DDGS export market (148,256 mt). Mexico was second (81,301 mt), followed by Turkey (55,046 mt), South Korea (40,329 mt), and Vietnam (35,084 mt).