U.S. Exports of Ethanol and Distillers Grains Kick Off the New Year with Robust Volumes

  • Wednesday, 09 March 2022 09:27

Renewable Fuels Association

Mar 8, 2022

American exports of U.S. ethanol picked up at the start of 2022 with shipments of 123.8 million gallons (mg), reflecting a 5% increase over December volumes. However, January exports were 25% lower than the record-high volumes in Jan. 2021. Canada remained the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the tenth consecutive month with imports of 36.4 mg, reflecting a slight uptick (+0.3%) from December. Trade fluctuations were mixed among our larger partners with exports expanding in India (19.0 mg, +19%), Mexico (11.6 mg, +76% to a 21-month high), and the Philippines (10.5 mg, up from essentially zero to the largest volume in a year) but scaling back in South Korea (11.7 mg, -18%), Brazil (8.9 mg, -31%), and the Netherlands (6.2 mg, -22%). Substantial and improved volumes of U.S. ethanol exports also landed in the United Kingdom, Peru, Jamaica, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. China remained essentially absent from our export market for the eighth consecutive month.

The U.S. logged its first significant imports of foreign ethanol in three months with 10.5 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol entering our borders in January.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—shifted 16% higher in January to 1.09 million metric tons (mt). This marked the largest volume of DDGS exports recorded in the month of January. Market distribution was more varied than in recent months, with our larger customers accounting for smaller shares of the total volume shipped. U.S. DDGS exports to Mexico perked up by 19% to 197,972 mt. While equivalent to just 18% of the American export market, this was sufficient to secure a foothold as our top customer, a position Mexico has maintained since Oct. 2020. Shipments eased to South Korea (127,844 mt, -2%), Canada (87,977 mt, -5%), Indonesia (71,754 mt, -14%), Vietnam (67,773 mt, -35%), and China (65,543 mt, -4%) but expanded to Turkey (80,846 mt, nearly twice the December volume), Spain (78,254 mt, up from zero), and Morocco (45,145 mt, +251%). The remaining quarter of U.S. DDGS exports were dispersed among another 28 countries.

In February, RFA released trade summaries for the U.S. ethanol industry in 2021. You can find these publications in our online library.

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