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Trade Monitor
Pace of U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Export Sales Accelerates at Year-End

February 7, 2024

Exports, Trade


By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst


December U.S. ethanol exports shot up 34% to 155.6 million gallons (mg). Canada was our largest destination for the 33rd consecutive month despite a 13% drop in volume. Shipments totaled 43.6 mg (of which 92% was denatured), accounting for 28% of global sales. The U.S. exported 26.0 mg to the United Kingdom (triple the November volume), which is the largest monthly sales in 12 years. Ethanol exports also escalated to India (+51% to a 9-month high of 20.5 mg), the European Union (+109% to a 7-month high of 16.2 mg), the United Arab Emirates (up from essentially zero to a 5-year high of 12.9 mg), the Philippines (up from zero to 23-month high of 9.2 mg), South Korea (+121% to a 5-month high of 8.3 mg), and Peru (+113% to a 7-month high of 6.1 mg). Brazil again was notably absent from the market. Total U.S. exports for the year were 1.43 billion gallons, the third-highest volume on record.


There were no U.S. imports on record in December, according to the monthly data. Total U.S. imports for the year were just 20.6 mg, or 74% less than 2022.


Exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, leapt 20% to a three-month high of 992,827 metric tons (mt). U.S. exports to South Korea catapulted 60% to a record 174,282 mt (18% of total DDGS shipments in December), nabbing Mexico’s 17-month title as our largest export market. Sales to Mexico diminished 11% yet were a robust 158,880 mt. Other larger importers included Indonesia (88,164 mt, +6%), Canada (70,011 mt, -11%), Turkey (tripled to 65,367 mt), Vietnam (63,551 mt, -37%), and the European Union (45,530 mt, +529%). Total U.S. exports for the year of 10.8 million mt were 1% less than 2022.


Watch for the release of RFA’s 2023 Export & Import Statistical Summaries for U.S. Ethanol and Co-Products! Find these publications and more in our online library.