By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst
April 5, 2022 — U.S. ethanol exports continued an upward trajectory in February, expanding 16% to 143.1 million gallons (mg) and coming in 41% higher than a year ago. Notably, exports of undenatured fuel ethanol reached their largest volume in nearly two years (South Korea and Singapore imported record volumes while India imports represented a 5-year high). Overall, Canada remained the top destination for U.S. ethanol exports for the eleventh consecutive month, taking in 31.0 mg (a 15% decrease from January). Elevated ethanol sales to India (25.6 mg, +35%), South Korea (18.3 mg, +56%), Brazil (12.7 mg, +44%), the United Kingdom (11.7 mg, +168%), and the Netherlands (7.6 mg, +21%) supported higher overall exports in February. However, China remained essentially absent from the export market for the ninth consecutive month.
The U.S. did not log any imports of foreign ethanol in February after importing 10.5 mg in January.
February U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, scaled back by 20% to 870,844 metric tons (mt)—the lowest volume in five months. However, Mexico increased its imports of U.S. DDGS by 3% to 203,911 mt and secured its position as the top customer for the seventeenth consecutive month. Shipments declined to South Korea (104,218 mt, -18%), although exports to Canada picked up the pace (102,421, +16%). These three countries represented half of the U.S. DDGS export market in February. Other larger customers included Indonesia (73,146, +2%), Japan (54,484 mt, +74% to a 17-month high), Vietnam (51,336 mt, -24% to the lowest volume since September 2017), Ireland (27,392 mt, +82%), and Israel (25,012 mt, +25%). Additionally, Portugal purchased a record 20,000 mt. Lower DDGS export volumes can also be attributed to Turkey and China slashing imports by roughly 80% compared to January.