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U.S. Ethanol and Distillers Grains Exports Up in October; Shipments to Brazil Down Sharply

December 5, 2017

           

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 93.6 million gallons (mg) in October, up 8% from September shipments, according to government data released this morning and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Canada was again the top destination for U.S. exports at 33.9 mg (more than one-third of total exports)—an 18% increase over September. Spain was the second-leading market for U.S. ethanol in October, making its first meaningful purchase of American ethanol in 37 months and taking in 13.4 mg. India's imports of U.S. ethanol fell 35% from September to 13.2 mg, but that was good enough to rank third in October. U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first ten months of 2017 stood at 1.09 billion gallons, indicating an annualized export volume of 1.30 billion gallons. Exports to Brazil in October ticked downward for the third straight month, likely a result of the nation's implementation of a tariff rate quota and 20% tariff in September. U.S. shippers sent 12.9 mg of ethanol to Brazil, which was a 32% decrease from September. Still, four countries (Canada, Spain, India, and Brazil) accounted for 78% of all shipments in October, while another 20% was parsed out amongst seven other markets.  October exports of undenatured fuel ethanol decreased by 12% to 43.0 mg—the lowest volume in 13 months as the two largest undenatured markets significantly decreased their imports. The U.S. shipped 13.2 mg to India (down 35%) and 12.9 mg to Brazil (down 32%). The Philippines (4.6 mg), Mexico (3.0 mg), and Spain (2.9 mg) rounded out the top five largest markets for undenatured product.  U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol recovered in October with a 47% increase to 46.6 mg. Canada (32.9mg, or 71% of the market) and Spain (10.5 mg) represented the lion's share of the denatured fuel ethanol export total.  Overseas sales of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased by a third to 2.2 mg. Saudi Arabia purchased 1.7 mg (76% of exports), with the remaining volumes distributed to multiple countries. Exports of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased 34% to 1.8 mg, with Canada (0.9 mg), Nigeria (0.4 mg), and Mexico (0.4 mg) as the primary customers.  For the sixth straight month this year, the United States recorded meaningful fuel ethanol import volumes with 2.9 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol on the books in October. Year-to-date fuel ethanol imports total 55.8 mg, a 66% increase over the same period last year. Still, annualized import volumes are estimated at just 66.9 mg.  Exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry mill ethanol plants—expanded 14% in October to 903,290 metric tons (mt), the largest volume in seven months. The top three customers increased purchases over September levels, with Mexico remaining the top destination at 205,899 mt (up 15% from September). Other leading destinations included Turkey (115,559 mt, up 35%), Vietnam (102,004 mt), South Korea (84,642 mt), and Indonesia (84,448 mt). Notably, Vietnam's imports of U.S. DDGS in October were the first significant volume to enter in ten months and signify a return to healthy trading volumes after resolving phytosanitary sanctions against American product. Total year-to-date DDGS exports to all countries stood at 9.2 mmt through October, indicating an annualized total of 11.08 mmt.