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Ethanol Exports Rebound in March as Distillers Grains Exports Set New Monthly Record

May 6, 2014


U.S. ethanol exports (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) totaled 84.0 million gallons (mg) in March, a 25% increase over February and just slightly below January's total of 86.2 mg. Meanwhile, U.S. ethanol imports remained at a trickle, with just 5.3 mg coming into the country during March. Thus, the United States remained a net exporter by a wide margin for the seventh straight month. Year-to-date exports stood at 237.2 mg, implying an annual total of nearly 950 mg. Canada and Brazil were top destinations in March, while the Philippines and Nigeria re-entered the market after sitting on the sidelines in February. Notably, March exports appeared to be largely unscathed by the rail delivery problems that materialized late in the month. Some market observers believe the significant rail delays experienced in late March may be reflected in the April export figures. Shipments of undenatured ethanol for fuel use were 44.0 mg in March, up 55% from February and the second-highest on record. Brazil was the top customer for undenatured product, receiving 13.9 mg. The Philippines (8.7 mg) was second, followed by Jamaica (4.2 mg), South Korea (4.0 mg) and Nigeria (3.4 mg). Exports of denatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 39.0 mg, up 3% from February. At 27.7 mg, Canada was the leading destination for denatured fuel ethanol. The United Arab Emirates (6.6 mg), Panama (2.1 mg), and Peru (1.2 mg) were other top markets. Shipments of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel (and non-beverage) use were 933,565 gallons. Ethanol imports were 5.3 mg, with all of the volume coming from Guatemala. The March import total was the highest in four months, but was equivalent to just one-tenth of the volume imported a year ago. Year-to-date import volumes stood at just 10.0 mg through March. March exports of distillers grains—the animal feed co-product from dry mill ethanol plants—set a new monthly record of 1.16 million metric tons (mt).  March shipments were up 28% from February and topped the 1 million mt mark for just the fourth time in history. China accounted for half (580,494 mt) of export shipments, while Mexico (106,064 mt) and South Korea (93,814 mt) were other leading destinations. Year-to-date DG exports stood at 2.97 million mt, a 65% increase over the same period a year ago. U.S. producers are on pace to export a record 11.9 million mt in 2014.