Ethanol exports continue to rise with another record breaking October with a total of 131.6 million gallons (mg), the highest monthly volume since December 2011. The U.S. government data was analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and found that October exports were 32 percent higher than September of this year and 69 percent higher than in August of this year. The top country was Brazil with 42.7 mg, up from last month, equaling nearly a third of total exports for the month. Canada also increased its exports by 25 percent to 35.0 mg. Other exporters of note were India with 16.5 mg, China with 10.6 mg, the Philippines with 6.3 mg, Peru with 4.8 mg and Mexico with 3.87 mg. This year two-thirds of total exports gone to China, Brazil and Canada, and year-to-date- exports are at 825.5 mg, on track for an estimated total of 990.6 mg for 2016.
Sales of undenatured fuel ethanol in October expanded by 36% to a record-breaking 70.0 mg. Brazil’s purchase of 40.0 mg (57% of the U.S. export market) plus sales of 16.5 mg to India (24%) were significantly responsible for moving the needle. Larger volumes also headed to the Philippines (6.3 mg), Mexico (3.7 mg) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 mg). October exports of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol increased by 23% over the prior month to 54.2 mg. Canada (33.2 mg, or 61%), China (10.6 mg, or 19%) and Peru (4.8 mg, or 9%) were again the primary markets.
Sales of denatured ethanol for non-fuel use rocketed to 5.4 mg in October with Nigeria reappearing in the marketplace (3.4 mg, or 64% of export sales) and Canada purchasing most of the remaining export volume (1.8 mg). October sales of undenatured fuel for non-fuel, non-beverage use increased by 9% to 2.1 mg, the highest level shipped since August 2014. South Korea imported an uncharacteristic volume for the second straight month, bringing in 1.8 mg (or 89% of exports). Mexico, Canada, the Philippines and China were other top customers.
In October, for the second time this year, no fuel ethanol entered the United States. Year-to-date ethanol imports are just 33.7 mg—roughly half the volume imported by this point last year. At this rate, the U.S. is on pace to import about 40 mg in 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.