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Another Record Month for U.S. Ethanol Exports

September 8, 2011

           

U.S. ethanol exports in July set a new monthly record, according to government data released today. Exports of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol totaled 127.4 million gallons in July, edging out the April total of 120.1 million gallons to set a new record. July exports were nearly double the amount exported in June. Top destinations in July were Canada, Brazil, and European Union. Through the first seven months of 2011, the United States has exported 588.5 million gallons of ethanol, or roughly 7.5% of total output during that same period. Year-to-date exports in 2011 are already more than the combined total of 2009 and 2010 exports. The U.S. ethanol industry remains on pace to export 800-900 million gallons of ethanol for the entire 2011 calendar year. Exports of denatured ethanol in July topped 100 million gallons for the first time ever, coming in at 104.6 million gallons. For context, this is equivalent to the annual output of a typical large ethanol facility. Canada was the top export destination in July, receiving 33.8 million gallons of denatured product. Brazil imported 16.1 million gallons, while the United Kingdom (14.0 mg), United Arab Emirates (13.6 mg), and Netherlands (12.3 mg) rounded out the top five. Together, the top five destinations accounted for 86% of July denatured ethanol exports. Undenatured ethanol exports totaled 22.7 million gallons in July, more than triple the amount exported in June. Brazil was the top export market for undenatured product, receiving 12.9 million gallons. Other top destinations were the Philippines (3.9 mg), Netherlands (3.2 mg), and Mexico (2.6 mg). Unprecedented U.S. ethanol exports continue to be driven by the fact that corn ethanol is currently the lowest-cost motor fuel source in the world. High sugar prices and lower-than-expected sugarcane ethanol output in South America have allowed the United States to overtake Brazil as the world’s leading ethanol exporter. In fact, Brazil and Canada are neck and neck as the leading importers of U.S. ethanol so far in 2011. Canada has imported 155.5 million gallons of ethanol through July, while Brazil has imported 155 million gallons. Together, these two countries have accounted for half of U.S. exports this year. Exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the animal feed co-product resulting from grain ethanol production, totaled 644,525 metric tons in July, up nearly 8% from June. Mexico continued as the top DDGS export, receiving 156,400 metric tons in July. China (106,606 mt), Canada (63,707 mt), the United Kingdom (47,513 mt), and Vietnam (40,265 mt) rounded out the top five. Notably, exports to China have increased in three consecutive months after sliding significantly from late 2010 through April 2011. Year-to-date DDGS exports total 4.43 million metric tons, meaning the U.S. is on pace to export roughly 7.6 million metric tons in 2011.