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Trade Monitor
August U.S. Ethanol Export Sales Shift Sharply Higher while U.S. DDGS Sales Moderate

October 6, 2020

Trade, Exports


October 6, 2020 — U.S. ethanol exports in August scaled 35% higher to 100.7 million gallons (mg), the largest volume since March. Shipments across the border to Canada accelerated 20% to a three-year high of 36.0 mg, equivalent to 36% of total U.S. ethanol exports, while sales to India declined by 20% to 10.5 mg. The mix of larger customers readjusted in August with Nigeria (9.8 mg, up from zero), Colombia (8.6 mg, up from zero), and Mexico (7.1 mg, +78%) rounding out the top five global markets. South Korea (5.9 mg, -24%), Peru (5.6 mg, +340%), and the Philippines (4.0 mg, -36%) were other sizable customers of U.S. ethanol. Brazil returned to the market after a two-month hiatus, but coming in at just 3% (1.9 mg) of the volume purchased in January. Global year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 905.4 mg, or 10% less than this time a year ago.


August U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol shipments pressed 19% higher to 31.4 mg, although sales remained roughly half of year-ago volumes. India was again our largest market with sales of 7.2 mg despite a 43% decline from July. Mexico (7.0 mg, +83%), Nigeria (5.6 mg, up from zero), and the Philippines (4.0 mg, -36%) also purchased significant volumes of American-made undenatured fuel ethanol.


August sales of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol jumped 40% to 61.3 mg. More than half of all exported gallons entered Canada (32.3 mg), which was 19% more than July and a 13-month high. Colombia (8.6 mg, up from zero), South Korea (5.9 mg, -24%), Peru (4.8 mg, +281%), and India (3.2 mg, up from zero) were other major customers.

Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes doubled to 7.9 mg as Nigeria stepped in with a purchase of 4.2 mg undenatured product. Canada scooped up most of the remaining exported gallons (3.4 mg).

The U.S. imported 35.6 mg of cane ethanol from Brazil—nearly triple the volume entering the country in July. Year-to-date imports total 93.1 mg, or 11% more than this time a year ago.


U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—relaxed 6% in August to 1.02 million metric tons (mt). While southbound shipments tracked 14% lower (138,817 mt), Mexico remained our chief DDGS market for the second consecutive month. Sales perked up in Vietnam (up 22% to 131,854 mt) but scaled back in South Korea (111,048 mt, -8%) and Turkey (80,288 mt, -44%). A record 61,492 mt U.S. DDGS shipped to New Zealand, while other larger markets included Indonesia (60,061 mt), China (50,717 mt—the largest exports in more than three years), Thailand (42,183 mt), Ireland (40,842 mt), and Canada (40,001 mt). Worldwide U.S. DDGS exports for the first eight months of the year were 7.08 million mt—trailing 3% behind last year at this time.



Ann Lewis

Ann Lewis is a Research Analyst at RFA.