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Trade Monitor
U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Sales Contract in October

December 6, 2023

Exports, Trade


By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst


U.S. ethanol exports decreased 3% to a still-healthy 117.1 million gallons (mg). Canada was our largest destination for the 31st consecutive month with exports of 64.6 mg (94% denatured) accounting for 55% of total sales on a 7% increase from September. This is the largest single-country purchase since Brazil’s offtake in March 2019. The U.S. exported 13.7 mg to India (following four months of near-zero volumes) and 12.6 mg to the United Kingdom (down 8% from September). Virtually all remaining ethanol exports were distributed among seven markets, with the largest volumes landing in the Philippines (6.5 mg, +176%), South Korea (6.0 mg, +17%), Peru (5.7 mg, +89%), and Mexico (5.1 mg, -9%). Brazil again was notably absent from the U.S. ethanol export market. Year-to-date exports, totaling 1.16 billion gallons, are steady with last year at this time.


There were no U.S. imports on record in October, according to the monthly data. Only 17.4 mg of foreign ethanol has been imported thus far in 2023, of which essentially all was sourced from Brazil.


Exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, tightened by 13% to a 6-month low of 896,708 metric tons (mt). Mexico was our largest destination for the sixteenth consecutive month with exports of 193,524 mt—a 4% decrease from September. DDGS exports to Vietnam were robust at 121,271 mt despite a 13% decline. Shipments strengthened to Canada, up 47% to a 16-month high of 92,924 mt. Other larger markets included South Korea (76,456 mt, -31%), Indonesia (66,351 mt, +7%), Turkey (38,325, +22%), Japan (35,451 mt, +1%), and China (30,530 mt, -8%). There was a notable lift in exports to Central American countries (a 5-year high) as well as record volumes to Cambodia. Year-to-date U.S. DDGS exports total 8.99 million mt, which lags 4% behind last year at this time.