By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst
May U.S. ethanol exports moderated from April’s four-year high, declining 21% to 147.1 million gallons (mg). However, Canada increased its imports by 4% to 41.8 mg in May, maintaining its status as our top customer for 14 consecutive months and logging its largest monthly volume in eight years (also its second largest on record). South Korea saw weaker sales in May, importing 19.3 mg (down 18%). Exports to the Netherlands climbed 12% to a 19-month high of 15.4 mg. Shipments to these three countries represented half of total U.S. exports in May. Other substantial importers of U.S. ethanol included India (10.9 mg, -9%), the United Kingdom (8.1 mg, -37%), Brazil (7.7 mg, -74%), and Peru (5.6 mg, -38%). Notably, China again was essentially absent from our export market. Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first five months of 2022 were 725.9 mg, up 24% from the same period in 2021 and remaining on a record pace.
The U.S. logged its first significant imports of foreign ethanol in four months with 10.6 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol entering our borders in May (South Africa also shipped 10,411 gallons of denatured fuel ethanol). Total year-to-date imports stand at 21.3 mg (in contrast, there were essentially zero imports during the same period in 2021).
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, rebounded 19% in May to a 4-month high of 966,108 metric tons (mt). Exports to Mexico—our largest market for 20 consecutive months—hiked up 83% to 229,231 mt. This accounted for a quarter of U.S. shipments and was the largest volume exported to Mexico in six months. Exports to our other larger markets also recovered from soft April volumes: South Korea purchased 26% more (123,077 mt), shipments to Vietnam were 6% higher (111,080 mt), 18% more U.S. DDGS crossed into Canada (94,942 mt), exports to Indonesia lifted 39% to a 17-month high (92,927 mt), and shipments to Ireland quadrupled (57,639 mt). The remaining U.S. DDGS were dispersed among another 28 countries. Year-to-date DDGS exports totaled 4.7 million mt, which is 4% greater than the same period in 2021.