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Trade Monitor
U.S. Ethanol Exports Rose Further in April, as Distillers Grains Exports Moderated

June 7, 2019

Trade, Exports


U.S. ethanol exports rose to 150.2 million gallons (mg) in April, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This was a 7% increase from March and the highest volume since last October.


Brazil was the top destination for the fifth straight month, purchasing 40.9 mg of ethanol, which represented just over one-quarter of total U.S. shipments. India edged out Canada as the second-largest destination, as shipments more than tripled from a month earlier to 34.1 mg, the highest level since March 2017.  This occurred even though exports to Canada surged 37% to 31.0 mg. Other top importers included South Korea (8.5 mg), the Philippines (7.6 mg), the European Union (7.2 mg) and Colombia (5.3 mg). 


April exports of undenatured fuel ethanol receded 11% to 82.2 mg, as sales to Brazil, the top destination, fell 40% to 39.5 mg. Shipments to India surged to 24.8 mg, offsetting a significant share of the decline in shipments to Brazil.  Other key destinations were the EU (7.2 mg), South Korea (3.5 mg) and Mexico (3.2 mg).


On the other hand, U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol climbed 88% in April to 62.6 mg. This occurred as U.S. exports to Canada increased 38% to 29.8 mg, and shipments to India reached 9.3 mg versus none a month earlier. The Philippines (4.9 mg), South Korea (4.9 mg), Colombia (4.3 mg) and Peru (3.7 mg) were other major markets.

U.S. exports of ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes fell back to 5.4 mg in April after moving higher in March. Shipments of undenatured product shrank to 1.3 mg, over two-thirds of which went to Canada. Exports of denatured product for non-fuel applications declined to 4.2 mg, 91% of which was destined for Nigeria.


The U.S imported ethanol for the second straight month.  Imports rose to 13.2 mg in April from 10.7 mg in March.  Almost all was undenatured fuel ethanol.  Of the total, 10.5 mg was received from Brazil, 2.6 mg from Guatemala and minor amounts from Canada. 


U.S. exports of dried distillers grains, the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, declined modestly to 917,836 metric tons (mt) in April from 956,828 mt in March. Shipments to Mexico, the top destination, increased 42% to 182,229 MT.  Exports to South Korea (107,488 mt) and Vietnam (89,464 mt) receded. Thailand (60,231 mt) and Canada (53,492 mt) rounded out the top five destinations, while shipments to Turkey fell to zero after surging the month before.



Ann Lewis

Ann Lewis is a Research Analyst at RFA.