April 7, 2021 — American ethanol shipments eased 38% in February after January’s volume set a record high for the month. Exports were 101.7 million gallons (mg), with half destined for just three countries. However, exports spiked to South Korea, up 120% (11.9 mg) to 21.8 mg. This is the largest volume imported in more than two years and was a sufficient boost to make South Korea our top market in February. Exports to Canada remained steady at 18.5 mg, while India’s imports dropped 76% (40.4 mg) to 12.8 mg. U.S. ethanol exports to other larger markets softened as well, including Brazil (7.8 mg, -55%), Nigeria (5.0 mg, -44%), Colombia (4.9 mg, -51%), the Philippines (4.9 mg, -64%), and China (4.7 mg, -79%).
For the second consecutive month, the U.S. did not log foreign ethanol imports.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—shifted 15% lower in February to 779,324 metric tons (mt) and came in 9% below year-ago levels. Exports were down across the board among our top markets, with volumes to Mexico down a third from January to a five-month low of 123,096 mt. Shipments also moderated to Indonesia (81,198 mt, -8%), South Korea (81,019 mt, -23%), and Vietnam (65,563 mt, -25%). Other larger trade partners were Ireland (48,477 mt), Turkey (45,006 mt), Japan (41,340 mt), and Egypt (38,431 mt).