Ethanol Exports Down in May

Cindy Zimmerman

The latest analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) finds exports of U.S. ethanol dropped in May while DDGS exports stayed about steady.

U.S. ethanol exports in May were down 43% from April to a four-month low of 91.9 million gallons. That’s less than half of the record volumes in February (218.7 mg) and March (215.1 mg). Canada broke Brazil’s five-month streak as the largest export market with 31.9 mg (35% of total exports), a 15.3% increase over April.

With Brazil and China markets restricted by trade barriers, U.S. exporters ramped up shipments to other existing customers. Ethanol exports to Peru increased 145% to a record 12.7 mg (14% of total exports), shipments to the Philippines nearly doubled from April to 9.5 mg (10% of total), and South Korea saw a 10% boost to 8.4 mg (9% of total). Meanwhile, exports to Brazil withered to 9.5 mg (10% of exports), an 84% drop from April. These five countries accounted for more than three-fourths of all U.S. ethanol exports in May. Year-to-date exports stand at 776.2 mg, implying a record annualized total of 1.86 billion gallons.

May exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) held steady at 994,006 metric tons (mt), easing just 0.4% from April volumes. However, market dynamics changed as U.S. shippers sent 148,682 mt of DDGS to Turkey (15% of the total market). Turkey’s 80% increase over April represented the country’s largest imports in 10 months—sufficient to overtake Mexico as the top export customer after a 13-month stretch. U.S. shippers reduced DDGS sales to Mexico by 20% (146,375 mt, 15% of the market) in May. Other large markets were South Korea (124,657 mt, up 29%), Vietnam (89,329 mt, down 24%), Thailand (75,490 mt, down 15%), and Ireland (39,826, up 180%). Year-to-date exports stand at 4.6 million mt, implying an annualized total of 11.1 million mt—on par with last year.

Read more from RFA analyst Ann Lewis

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA