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Ethanol Exports Dip in December; China Returns to DDGS Market

February 7, 2015


U.S. ethanol exports totaled 75.5 million gallons (mg) in December, down 17% from November, according to government data released this week. Canada, Brazil, and the Philippines were top destinations for U.S. product in December. For the full 2014 calendar year, ethanol exports amounted to 835.6 mg, up 35% from 2013 and the second-highest annual total on record. RFA released a detailed report (available here) on Thursday that covers 2014 ethanol exports and imports in depth. Exports of denatured ethanol for fuel use rebounded sharply to 33.2 mg in December, up 52% from November. Canada was again the leading market for denatured product, receiving 23.4 mg. Tunisia (4.1 mg), Netherlands (3.4 mg), and Peru (2.3 mg) were other top destinations. Outbound shipments of undenatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 38.5 mg, down 42% from the all-time record in November. Brazil took in 17.4 mg of undenatured fuel ethanol, while the Philippines received 10.5 mg. Nigeria (3.4 mg) and Jamaica (2.7 mg) were other top markets. U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel (and non-beverage) uses tallied 3.7 mg in December, with Canada accounting for 3.1 mg. Meanwhile, U.S. ethanol imports jumped to 11.5 mg in December, more than double the November total of 4.9 mg and the highest since May. Still, ethanol imports for the entire calendar year totaled just 84 million gallonsdown 79% from 2013 and the second-lowest annual total in the past decade. U.S. exports of distillers dried grains (DDGS)the animal feed co-product manufactured by ethanol dry millstallied 733,748 metric tons (mt) in December, up 16% from the 2014 low in November. At 11.3 million mt, annual DDGS exports established a new record in 2014, beating the old record of 9.7 mmt set in 2013. China was the leading importer of U.S. DDGS in 2014, receiving 39% of the total. Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, and Turkey were other top markets for DDGS exports in 2014. For the third straight month, Mexico was the top destination for U.S. DDGS in December, taking in 159,350 mt. China returned to the market in December, importing 125,598 mtthe most since September. DDGS exports to China nearly ground to a halt in October and November as a result of the countrys policy on a certain biotech corn trait. However, the trait was approved by China in December, re-opening the door to U.S. DDGS. Exports to South Korea surged to 106,956 mt in December, the highest of the year to that market and more than double the November total. Canada (63,348 mt) and Vietnam (54,999 mt) were other top destinations.