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Trade Monitor
Global Sales of U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Decline in October

December 6, 2022

Exports, Trade


By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst


U.S. ethanol exports dropped below 100 million gallons (mg) for the second time in more than a year, scaling back 17% to 83.8 mg in October. However, shipments crossing north of our borders picked up by 5% so that Canada secured its status as our largest importer for the nineteenth consecutive month. While falling shy of its August record, Canada’s purchase of 44.5 mg was equivalent to over half (53%) of total U.S. exports in October. The bulk of the remaining U.S. ethanol exports were destined for India (7.4 mg, the first meaningful imports in 5 months), the European Union (6.9 mg, -59%)—primarily led by the Netherlands—Mexico (6.5 mg, +121% to a 7-month high), South Korea (5.0 mg, -58% to the lowest volume in over 2 years), and Peru (4.5 mg, up from essentially zero). Brazil and China again were principally absent from our export market. Year-to-date U.S. ethanol shipments totaled 1.20 billion gallons, pressing 22% ahead of last year’s pace.


The U.S. imported 16.0 mg of undenatured ethanol from Brazil. Total year-to-date imports stand at 58.4 mg, on par with last year at this time.


U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, slid 9% to 798,100 metric tons (mt)—the lowest volume since February 2021. Once again, just three markets represented roughly half of total U.S. DDGS shipments. Exports to Mexico, our top customer for the fourth consecutive month, dropped 17% to 155,108 mt while Vietnam lowered its imports by 18% to 128,257 mt. Conversely, shipments to South Korea expanded 58% to a record high of 130,463 mt. Exports to other larger U.S. markets were similarly mixed, including the European Union (67,255 mt, -14%)—primarily led by Spain—Indonesia (57,197 mt, +63%), Canada (51,929 mt, -15% to a 17-month low), and Japan (47,922 mt, +172% or nearly triple the September volume). Total exports for the first ten months of 2022 totaled 9.39 million mt, lagging just 2% behind last year’s pace.