US ethanol exports slip, imports rise, despite US ethanol production gain

June 6, 2015 |

In Washington, the Renewable Fuels Association reported that U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol in April totaled 74.9 million gallons (mg), down 9 mg from March, according to RFA analysis of government data released today. Despite the 11% drop over March exports, April ethanol shipments were still well above year-ago levels. Year-to-date exports stood at 312.5 mg, implying an annualized total of 938 mg for 2015. Canada (19.2 mg, or 26%) and Brazil (15.7 mg, or 21%) accounted for nearly half of total U.S. ethanol exports in April, followed by the Philippines (8.1 mg), Tunisia (7.9 mg) and India (7.0 mg). The Netherlands, South Korea and Mexico were other key destinations in April.

April exports of denatured ethanol for fuel decreased 18% from March levels, down to 29.7 mg. The major difference in denatured product shipments in April was the disappearance of demand from Oman, which imported 7 mg in March. Top markets Canada (17.4 mg) and Tunisia (7.9 mg) increased their offtake over the prior month (up 12% and 49%, respectively), with the Netherlands (4.2 mg) rounding out the major players in the denatured market. Exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use were fairly flat at 42.8 mg despite a slump in shipments to top customer Brazil (down 37% to 15.7 mg). Undenatured ethanol exports to the Philippines more than tripled in April (8.1 mg) while shipments to hit-or-miss India reappeared on the books at 7.0 mg. April exports of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use were 436,254 gallons, in sync with recent norms although lower than March exports. The United States exported 2.0 mg of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage in April, again returning to more normal levels after popping up in March.

April imports marked the highest monthly level yet in 2015, with the U.S. bringing in 10.5 mg of undenatured ethanol from Brazil. However, due to two months of near-zero levels in 2015, year-to-date imports (13.1 mg) are only half of levels posted during the same timeframe a year ago. As a result, the U.S. claimed its 20th month in a row as a net exporter.

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 972,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 40.82 million gallons daily. That is up 3,000 b/d from the week before, and the fourth straight weekly increase in output. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 953,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.61 billion gallons. On a year-to-date basis, output has averaged 14.52 billion gallons annualized—1.1 billion gallons more than EPA’s 5/29/2015 proposal of 13.4 billion gallons for the 2015 RFS.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 20.1 million barrels. That is a 0.1% decrease from last week. Imports of ethanol were non-existent for the 21st time in 22 weeks. Gasoline demand for the week averaged 377.1 million gallons daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 874,000 b/d, a four-week low in the aftermath of Memorial Day weekend.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.83%, the highest in eight weeks.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.738 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 108,478 metric tons of livestock feed, 96,709 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.72 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

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Category: Fuels

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