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Trade Monitor
October U.S. Ethanol Global Sales Burst Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels while U.S. DDGS Exports Moderate

December 4, 2020

Trade, Exports


December 4, 2020 — U.S. ethanol exports in October rocketed 64% higher to 126.5 million gallons (mg), the largest volume since March. Shipments crossing the border to Canada rebounded by 11% (35.6 mg), equivalent to 28% of total U.S. ethanol exports. The Netherlands purchased record gallons (24.2 mg) while sales to South Korea jumped to the largest monthly volume this year (15.0 mg). Other larger markets included India (11.6 mg), Colombia (11.1 mg), Norway (6.6 mg, a record high), Finland (3.8 mg), Nigeria (3.8 mg), Peru (3.5 mg), and Mexico (3.4 mg). Exports to Brazil were minimal for the fifth straight month. Global year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 1.109 billion gallons, or 9% less than this time a year ago.


The U.S. imported 22.5 mg of cane ethanol from Brazil, a third more than September. Year-to-date imports total 132.5 mg.


U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined 18% in October to 951,500 metric tons (mt). While exports to the largest destinations moved higher, shipments to Japan scaled back after hitting a record high in September, accounting for half of the total month-on-month decline. Mexico nearly doubled its purchases (180,650 mt, up 91%), representing 19% of the total U.S. DDGS export market, and thereby returned as our largest customer. Robust exports to our largest Asian customers continued with gains in Vietnam (130,128 mt, up 4%), South Korea (129,074 mt, up 27%), Thailand (85,230 mt, up 68%), and Indonesia (84,591 mt, up 26%). Turkey, China, Canada, the Philippines, and Taiwan were other larger customers. Worldwide U.S. DDGS exports for the first nine months of the year were 9.19 million mt, or 1% ahead of last year at this time.



Ann Lewis

Ann Lewis is a Research Analyst at RFA.