By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst
May 4, 2022 — U.S. ethanol exports declined 13% to 125.1 million gallons (mg), the lowest March shipments in six years. Canada logged its twelfth consecutive month as our top customer with a 10% increase to 34.2 mg (equivalent to 27% of total exports in March). Sales to South Korea spiked 38% to a record high of 25.3 mg (20% of March exports). However, India cut its imports of U.S. ethanol by almost half to 13.7 mg (11% of March exports). Other larger customers were Nigeria (10.8 mg, +115% to a record high), Mexico (8.3 mg, +15%), the Netherlands (7.7 mg, +2%), Singapore (6.1 mg, +21% to a four-year high), and Peru (4.5 mg, +124%). Notably, China and Brazil were absent from our export market in March. U.S. ethanol exports for the first quarter of 2022 totaled 392.0 mg.
The U.S. did not log any meaningful imports of foreign ethanol in March (Brazil shipped 107,784 gallons of undenatured fuel ethanol while Canada and China shipped negligible volumes of denatured fuel ethanol). Imports for the first three months of 2022 totaled 10.6 mg.
March U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, improved by 6% to 927,134 metric tons (mt). While Mexico decreased its imports of U.S. DDGS by 11% to 182,313 mt (equivalent to 20% of total DDGS shipments in March), it remained our top customer for the eighteenth consecutive month. Overall, exports were chiefly buoyant across our other larger markets: South Korea (128,115 mt, +23%), Vietnam (111,305 mt, +117%), Canada (105,042 mt, +3% to a record high), Ireland (95,813 mt, +250% to a record high), Indonesia (70,549 mt, -4%), Japan (66,462 mt, +22%), and Thailand (49,086 mt, +235%). Year-to-date DDGS shipments totaled 2.9 million mt—the largest first-quarter exports since 2017.