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U.S. Ethanol Exports Strong in January; Brazil is Top Market

March 9, 2012


Government data released today showed the U.S. exported 76.3 million gallons (mg) of ethanol (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) in January. This marks the highest total ever for the first month of the year, which is typically a slow month for U.S. ethanol exports. January 2012 exports were 33% above January 2011 totals and nearly six times higher than January 2010. Of the total, 51.8 mg (68%) was denatured, while 24.5 mg (32%) was undenatured. Brazil was again the top destination for U.S. exports, receiving a total of 26.4 mg. Exports to Brazil fell from previous months, due largely to that nation's recent decision to reduce the mandatory ethanol blend level from 25% to 20%. The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo also recently re-instituted a sales tax on imported ethanol at the point of customs entry, while at the same time deferring payment of the tax for domestic-origin product. Still, exports to Brazil represented approximately one-third of total January shipments, which is consistent with the share of total exports that went to Brazil in 2011. Canada imported 23.4 mg in January, a total consistent with previous months (monthly exports to Canada averaged 24.8 mg in 2011). The Netherlands was the third-leading importer of U.S. ethanol in January, taking in 4.9 mg. Oman (4.5 mg) and Mexico (4.5 mg) rounded out the top five. Exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) totaled 606,643 metric tons (mt), a 7% increase over December shipments and the highest since last September. Mexico was again the top market, importing 160,285 mt. China (104,427 mt), Vietnam (58,191 mt), Canada (54,634 mt), and S. Korea (40,136 mt) followed.