RFA says USDA data shows January ethanol exports hit 129.7 million

March 27, 2019 |

In Washington, U.S. ethanol exports totaled 127.9 million gallons in January, according to government data released this morning and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This reflects an 8.5% decline from December and the lowest monthly volume in four months, but it represented an increase from the 88.3 million gallons shipped in January 2018.

Brazil remained the top U.S. customer for the second straight month at 38.5 million gallons, buying 3% more than in December and capturing 30% of global sales. India’s purchase of U.S. ethanol more than doubled (108%) in January at 20.0 million gallons. Canada sharply reduced its U.S. imports at 19.97 million gallons (-29%), its smallest purchase in a year. Exports to South Korea ticked up to 13.5 million gallons, while Colombia expanded to a record 9.5 million gallons. These five countries accounted for roughly 80% of January exports of U.S. ethanol.

January exports of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol thinned by 10.1% to 69.6 million gallons. Over half the shipments (38.5 million gallons) were destined for Brazil, a slight increase over December volumes. India increased its offtake by 22% to 9.3 million gallons, and South Korea purchased 7.4 million gallons, a 22-month high. Other markets for undenatured fuel product included Mexico (4.0 million gallons), the Netherlands (2.2 million gallons), Norway (2.1 million gallons), and the Philippines (2.1 million gallons).

American producers exported 53.5 million gallons of denatured fuel ethanol in January, 4.7% under prior month sales. U.S. shipments to Canada weakened by 28% to 18.9 million gallons. Exports to India intensified to 10.7 million gallons following an absence of activity in December, effectively nabbing its second-highest monthly offtake. Colombia also stepped up with record U.S. imports of 7.6 million gallons, up 165%. South Korea (5.7 million gallons, down 55%) and the Philippines (4.5 million gallons) were other significant destinations.

The global market for U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes lost traction in January with 22% lower sales at 4.8 million gallons—the majority (89%) was undenatured. Japan (1.8 million gallons), Canada (1.0 million gallons), Colombia (0.8 million gallons), and Saudi Arabia (0.7 million gallons) were significant destinations.

January was absent of any fuel ethanol imports for the first time in six months. Imports have averaged less than 6 million gallons per month over the past four years.

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