The latest data shows that the U.S. exported the largest monthly volume of ethanol since December 2011, according to government trade data released this week. Shipments totaled 131.6 million gallons, up 32 percent over September and 69 percent higher than August exports. Brazil was the largest customer, capturing a third of U.S. ethanol shipments.
Interestingly, the rest of the world understands American made ethanol to be a valuable commodity, to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increasingly rely on renewable fuel. Sadly, our own country does not see that same value.
Vibrant trade with other countries continues to be a big success story in terms of ethanol and other agricultural products. The ag industry will continue to advocate for increased trade opportunities to fuel economic development within the states.
Other large U.S. customers included India (16.5 mg, or 13%), China (10.6 mg, or 8%), the Philippines (6.3 mg, or 5%), Peru (4.8 mg, or 4%) and Mexico (3.87 mg, or 3%). Canada, Brazil and China continue to vie for top billing as the largest U.S. ethanol customer in 2016, accounting for two-thirds of all exports so far. Year-to-date exports stood at 825.5 mg, implying an annual total of 990.6 mg for calendar year 2016.
October exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product from dry mill ethanol production—experienced a slight increase over September, up 1% to 1,005,027 metric tons (mt).
The current distribution of U.S. DDGS in the global marketplace reflects a distinct change in our customer base, with the top five customers splitting over half of the shipments fairly evenly. Exports to Mexico expanded by 7% to 131,672 mt (13% of the U.S. export market)—still lower than recent volumes but enough to overtake China as the largest U.S. customer.
Shipments to China have been plummeting since June as another 25% month-on-month decrease meant exports totaled 124,713 mt (12%) and the lowest volume in nearly two years. Vietnam continued as a strong buyer with 121,961 mt of U.S. DDGS (12%), with the threat of new fumigation requirements not yet reflected in the data. Meanwhile Thailand increased its imports by 10% over September to 95,857 mt (10%)—more than double the volume entering the country at the start of the year. South Korea rounded out the largest customers of American distillers grains in October with 92,804 mt (9%).
Other large customers in October were Turkey (63,864 mt), Spain (52,857 mt) and New Zealand (44,159 mt), all of which brought in unusual volumes of U.S. distillers grains. Through October, DDGS exports stood at 9.6 million mt, indicating an annualized total of 11.5 million mt.