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Trade Monitor
U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Global Export Pace Slows from March Pop

June 8, 2021

Trade, Exports


June 8, 2021 — American exports of ethanol scaled back 15% in April to 112.7 million gallons (mg). A quarter of all gallons crossed the border into Canada (27.8 mg, a 19% decline from March). Shipments to India declined 2% to 16.4 mg, and China cut its imports by 76% to 11.8 mg. However, the bulk of remaining U.S. ethanol markets boosted imports including South Korea, which tripled its imports to a 27-month high of 23.2 mg. Other substantial markets included Finland (11.0 mg, an eight-year high), Peru (5.6 mg, up 23%), Mexico (3.4 mg, up 79% to a six-month high), and Saudi Arabia (2.6 mg, up 53%). Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports totaled 512.0 mg, or 9% less than last year at this time.


For the fourth consecutive month, the U.S. did not log any meaningful imports of foreign ethanol. This marks the smallest year-to-date imports since 2017.


U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—declined 2% in April to 862,736 metric tons (mt). Half of U.S. DDGS were destined for Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, and Turkey, with the remaining volumes distributed among another 27 countries. Mexico marked its seventh consecutive month as our top customer with shipments of 158,380 mt (equivalent to 18% of total exports in April) despite a 9% decline from March. U.S. DDGS exports to Vietnam decreased by nearly a quarter to 100,284 mt, and shipments to South Korea declined 5% to 96,104 mt. Turkey boosted its imports by 5% to a five-month high of 88,934 mt. Other larger trade partners included Indonesia (71,977 mt, down 11%), Israel (37,568 mt, a 14-month high), Canada (37,487 mt, up 2%), and Ireland (36,309 mt, up more than fivefold). Total DDGS exports for the first four months of 2021 totaled 3.44 million mt, which tracks 1% behind last year.