Hannah Ferguson

Jun 04, 2015  |  Today's News

This post was originally written by Ann Lewis, on the Renewable Fuels Association website.

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.

April exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) — the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants — inched upward for the fifth consecutive month as the market recovers from the deterioration of export demand from China last year. DDGS exports totaled 928,120 metric tons (mt), nearly even with March. The U.S. exported 601,834 mt of DDGS to China–the second highest monthly total on record–accounting for two-thirds of total exports. Mexico (99,209 mt), South Korea (49,290 mt), Vietnam (42,878 mt) and Canada (41,342 mt) captured most of the remaining global market. Mexico, Canada and Thailand had been picking up much of the excess export supply during China’s temporary departure from the market, but exports to those regions have now returned to more normal levels. However, total DDGS exports outside of China have been eroding, primarily due to reductions in demand from North Africa and the Middle East. Year-to-date exports for 2015 are 3.4 million mt, implying an annualized 10.09 million mt in DDGS.