May 4, 2021 — American exports of ethanol accelerated in March to 133.0 million gallons (mg), the second-largest volume in a year and up 31% from February’s dip. Exports to China spiked from 4.7 mg to 48.3 mg for the country’s second-largest monthly imports of American ethanol on record (and narrowly missing the April 2016 high). Similarly, shipments to Canada accelerated by 85% to a four-month high of 34.2 mg, and India’s imports were up 13% over February to 16.8 mg. These three countries received three-fourths of all ethanol shipped in March. Other substantial markets include South Korea (7.1 mg, -67%), Brazil (5.3 mg, -32%), the Philippines (4.6 mg, -5%), and Peru (4.5 mg, +3%). Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first three months of the year totaled 399.3 mg, or 18% less than last year at this time.
For the third consecutive month, the U.S. did not log any meaningful volumes of foreign ethanol imports (6,160 gallons shipped from Canada in March). This marks the smallest volume of total first-quarter imports in four years.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—rebounded by 13% in March to 882,553 metric tons (mt). Two-thirds of U.S. exports were destined for five markets, with the remaining volumes distributed among 31 countries. Shipments to Mexico rebuilt following a sizeable slump in February with 174,928 mt crossing the border. This is equivalent to 20% of total U.S. exports in March and a 42% increase over the prior month. Shipments to Vietnam nearly doubled to a seven-month high of 130,985 mt. Exports to South Korea of 100,771 mt were 24% higher and Turkey’s imports of 84,787 mt saw an 88% improvement. Indonesia imported 80,822 mt, a slight (0.5%) decline from February. Other larger trade partners included Thailand (54,151 mt), Canada (36,827 mt), Japan (28,417 mt), Colombia (25,640 mt), and Morocco (23,331 mt). Total DDGS exports for Q1 2021 totaled 2.58 million mt, which tracks 6% behind last year.