According to U.S. government data, U.S. ethanol exports surged to 82.4 million gallons (mg) in November, with large volumes finding their way into new or emerging markets such as China and India, as well as the Philippines, Tunisia, Panama, and Mexico.
Total exports were up 54 percent from October, reaching the highest monthly level since March 2012. Canada was once again the leading importer of U.S. product, receiving 28.5 mg in November. The Philippines followed with an annual high of 14.0 mg, while India (8.1 mg), Brazil (4.3 mg), and Norway (4.3 mg) were other top destinations. For the first time since 2002, a sizable volume of fuel ethanol was exported to China (3.5 mg). Similarly, Panama imported meaningful volumes of U.S. fuel ethanol (2.0 mg) for the first time since 1992. Tunisia (2.3 mg) and Mexico (1.7 mg) are other relatively new markets that imported U.S. product in November.
Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS), noted that the uptick of exports to China and India is a huge opportunity for the ethanol industry and an indicator that ethanol demand is continuing to expand and grow overseas.
Dinneen commented, “U.S. produced ethanol continues to be the lowest cost liquid transportation fuel on the planet. The fact that rapidly developing countries like China and India are turning to the U.S. for fuel supply is both a reflection of that economic reality and the effort of U.S. producers to look beyond our borders to build demand. The RFA will continue working hard on behalf of American ethanol producers to grow and strengthen our export relationships with these emerging countries even as we continue to expand ethanol usage domestically.”
He also pointed out that there is also a huge overseas market emerging.
RFA has worked with the U.S. government and U.S. ethanol producers to expand trade abroad. Most recently, Ed Hubbard, RFA’s general counsel, led a trade mission to Brazil through the Brazil-U.S. Business Council connecting U.S. ethanol companies with business opportunities in the northern regions of the country.
Additionally, Kelly Davis, RFA’s director of regulatory affairs, joined the U.S. Grains Council on a trade mission last May to South Korea and Japan. She visited Seoul and Tokyo, where she had the opportunity to discuss and promote the trade of ethanol and its co-products, specifically distillers dried grains (DDGS), overseas.