January 7, 2020 — U.S. ethanol exports receded in November, decreasing 5% to 107.3 million gallons (mg), according to data issued today by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). However, the Brazilian export market was reinvigorated despite the restrictive tariff rate quota limiting volumes that can enter the country duty-free. Brazil doubled its purchases and overtook Canada as our top customer for the first time since April.
Two-thirds of all U.S. ethanol exports in November landed in Brazil (27.0 mg, +131%), Canada (26.8 mg, -11%), and Colombia (12.5 mg, +47% to a record high). U.S. shippers also sent sizable volumes to Oman (9.4 mg following zero in October), South Korea (9.0 mg, -3%), and the European Union (8.7 mg, +4%). November ethanol sales imply an annualized export volume of nearly 1.5 billion gallons which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.
Shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol slowed in November by 11% to 52.8 mg. Half of exports were destined for Brazil (27.0 mg, +131%) with the remainder dispersed among another dozen countries including Nigeria (4.7 mg, up from zero), the Netherlands (4.6 mg, +84%), India (3.3 mg, -81%), and South Korea (3.2 mg, +14%). Notably, sales to Mexico scaled back 91% to under 200,000 gallons.
Sales of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol picked up in November, pressing 13% higher to 51.9 mg. Roughly half of exports (25.3 mg) moved north to Canada, despite an 11% decrease to the smallest volume since May. Remaining shipments of denatured fuel ethanol were distributed primarily to Colombia (11.2 mg, +56%), Oman (9.4 mg, up from zero), South Korea (5.1 mg, -10%), and Peru (0.7 mg, -69%).
Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes slipped 67% to 2.6 mg. The majority of undenatured product shipped to Canada (0.9 mg), South Korea (0.7 mg), and Saudi Arabia (0.5 mg), while most denatured product landed in Canada (0.2 mg) and the Dominican Republic (0.1 mg).
Imports from Brazil intensified in November as the U.S. purchased its second-largest volume of cane ethanol in a year, up 16% to 25.4 mg. Total U.S. ethanol imports for 2019 now stand at 189.4 mg—nearly triple the volume imported last year during the same period. Consequently, the U.S. is on pace to log over 200 mg by year end.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—rebounded in November, jumping 20% to 911,569 metric tons (mt). Sales to Mexico rallied with a 36% increase in DDGS heading southbound, or 200,669 mt (a six-month high), again marking its place as our top customer (22% of our export market). Sales also took off in South Korea (105,328 mt, +51%) and Thailand (88,424 mt, more than triple October exports). Vietnam (84,188 mt, -29%), Indonesia (72,698 mt, +13%), Turkey (54,449 mt, up from zero), and the European Union (41,588 mt, +116%) rounded out our top markets in November. Total year-to-date exports of U.S. DDGS stand at 10.02 million mt, which implies an annualized export volume of 10.93 million mt.