RFA: US Ethanol Exports Down

NEW YORK (DTN) -- The United States exported 86.4 million gallons of fuel ethanol in September, down 16% from August shipments, according to an analysis of government data by the Renewable Fuels Association.

RFA said the data shows Canada was again the top destination for U.S. exports at 28.8 mg or one-third of the total exports, but down 5% from August.

India was the surprise major player in the global ethanol market, raising its import rate of U.S. ethanol by 126% to 20.3 mg in September, edging out Brazil as the second-leading export destination.

U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first three quarters of 2017 stood at 992.9 mg, an annualized export volume of 1.32 billion gallons.

For the first time in 16 months, Brazil was not one of the top two customers of U.S. ethanol exports, the data shows. The likely reason is a 20% tariff on imports of U.S. ethanol imposed by Brazil in early September.

Ethanol exports to Brazil decreased to 19.1 mg, down 29% from August and 70% below the peak of 64.3 mg in May.

Canada, India and Brazil accounted for a whopping 79% of all shipments in September while another 20% was parsed out among nine other markets.

September exports of undenatured fuel ethanol increased by 5% to 48.7 mg. India imported 20.3 mg after an August absence. The Philippines (2.1 mg), Netherlands (2.1 mg), Mexico (1.7 mg), and Jamaica (1.5 mg) rounded out the top five largest markets for undenatured product.

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol fell in September by 39% to 31.7 mg. Both Canada (27.8 mg or 88%) and Peru (2.3 mg) cut their purchases by 5% from August, while Oman was quiet after making larger purchases in August.

Overseas sales of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes expanded to the highest volume in nine months at 3.3 mg. Belgium (1.3 mg) and Sweden (1.3 mg) were the largest markets.

Exports of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased 25% to 2.7 mg, with South Korea (1.2 mg) and Canada (1.0 mg) as our primary customers.

For the fifth straight month, the U.S. recorded meaningful ethanol import volumes with 10.7 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol on the books in September. Year-to-date fuel ethanol imports total 52.8 mg, an annualized volume of 70.4 mg.