US ethanol exports through up 31% on the year at 1.56 billion gallons

February 11, 2019 |

In Washington, U.S. ethanol exports through November 2018 reached 1.56 billion gallons, up 31% from the same period a year earlier and already a calendar-year record. Exports remained robust in November although volumes for the month decreased 16% to 147.9 million gallons (mg), according to government data released this morning and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). In a departure from recent trends, sales were heavily concentrated in just three countries accounting for nearly three-fourths of all U.S. ethanol shipments in November. Brazil imported 51.2 mg, representing 35% of total U.S. export sales. While this was 3.2 mg lower (-6%) than October volumes, it was enough to secure Brazil’s position as the top U.S. ethanol customer for a second straight month. Canada decreased its imports of American ethanol by 8% to 28.4 mg, the lowest volume in seven months but still 19% of total ethanol shipments in November. Volumes exported to India were a solid 28.1 mg (19% of U.S. ethanol exports), slipping just 3% from a record offtake in October. Mexico imported a record 4.8 mg, up 144% for the month.

The Netherlands (8.2 mg, down 21%), South Korea (6.2 mg, down 20%), and Spain (4.3 mg, up 156% to a 13-month high) were other top markets. Notably, after purchasing 6.2 mg in U.S. imports in October, the Peruvian market essentially disappeared with the implementation of countervailing duties on U.S. ethanol by their government in November.

November exports of undenatured fuel ethanol were 90.5 mg, an increase of 10.9 mg (14%). Brazil purchased 51.2 mg (up 10 mg or 23%), representing 57% of our undenatured export market while exports to India at 14.6 mg were down 10 mg (41%). Expanded volumes were shipped to the Netherlands (8.2 mg, up 7 mg), Mexico (4.8 mg), Spain (4.3 mg), and South Korea (2.8 mg) in November while the Philippines (2.4 mg) cut imports in half.

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