RFA Analysis: Summer Ends With Slightly Lower U.S. Exports of Ethanol and DDGS

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 103.1 million gallons (mg) in August, down 12% from July shipments, according to government data released this morning and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). 

Canada and Brazil were again the top destinations for U.S. exports, combining to receive more than half of total exports in August. 

Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations stood at 906.5 mg, indicating an annualized export total of 1.36 billion gallons.

Top importer, Canada, brought in 38.7 mg of ethanol, while Brazil recorded 27.0 mg in of imports in August, down 20% from July. 

Through the first eight months of 2017, Brazil was the top market for U.S. ethanol exports, accounting for a third (337.0 mg, or 37%) of all export demand. 

On a year-to-date basis, Canada has been the No. 2 market (218 mg, capturing 24% of total exports) while India is quickly catching up to the leaders (103.6 mg, or 11%).

August exports of undenatured fuel ethanol withdrew by 21% to 46.5 mg. Brazil imported 26.5 mg, down 22% from July. 

The Philippines doubled its July import volume with 5.2 mg, and the United Kingdom (4.2 mg), Switzerland (2.8 mg), and Jamaica (2.2 mg) jumped back into the market.

Canada decreased purchases of American denatured fuel ethanol by 23%, but still maintained a solid hold on its top importer status with 29.2 mg–equivalent to 56% of total denatured exports. 

Notably, Oman entered the marketplace for the first time since February 2016 with a purchase of 11.0 mg in August. 

India (9.0 mg), Peru (2.4 mg), and Brazil (0.5 mg) were the destinations for the remaining bulk of denatured fuel ethanol shipments.

Exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes rebounded from the prior month’s dip, with volumes more than doubling to 4.3 mg. Nigeria (2.3 mg) and Canada (1.1 mg) took in nearly 80% of shipments. 

South Korea (0.5 mg) and Mexico (0.3 mg) were the other top customers.

For the fourth straight month this year, the United States recorded meaningful fuel ethanol import volumes. 

The U.S. brought in 17.9 mg of fuel ethanol in August–the largest monthly volume from Brazil in 21 months. 

Year-to-date imports total 42.2 mg and indicate an annualized volume of 63.3 mg imported.

Exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry mill ethanol plants—were down 24% at 761,467 metric tons (mt) in August. 

Mexico remained the top customer out of 32 DDGS-importing countries. 

Mexico purchased 172,470 mt, increasing its market presence with 23% of total demand. 

Turkey reduced imports by 61% to 72,376 mt–a 9-month low, while Indonesia boosted its offtake by 12% to 63,074 mt. South Korea (60,438 mt) and Canada (59.9 mt) rounded out the top five markets. 

Demand in Vietnam has dwindled to just over 6,000 mt this year following phytosanitary sanctions implemented at the end of 2016; however, the U.S. could expect to see an increase in demand over the coming months as the country lifted its ban Sept. 1. 

Total year-to-date DDGS exports to all countries stood at 7.3 mmt through August, indicating an annualized total of 10.95 mmt

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