U.S. Exports of Ethanol and DDGS Down in April

Cindy Zimmerman

After big gains in the first quarter of 2023, U.S. ethanol exports slowed in April, dropping five percent to 125.7 million gallons (mg), despite a 95% increase in undenatured ethanol shipments, according to the latest Renewable Fuels Association Trade Monitor update. Exports of both U.S. ethanol and the co-product dried distillers grains (DDGS) are lower than a year ago at this time.

Canada was our largest destination for the 25th consecutive month with 46.9 mg crossing the border (17% lower than March), including two-thirds of all April U.S. denatured exports. Other major global customers included the European Union (16.5 mg, +26%)—primarily shipped to the Netherlands—India (13.2 mg, -42%), South Korea (10.8 mg, +108%), the United Kingdom (10.4 mg, +20%), and Mexico (7.0 mg, +19%). Brazil again remained absent from the market with a 16% tariff on U.S. ethanol in place. Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports total 479.8 mg, lagging 17% behind last year at this time and marking the smallest January-April exports in seven years.

RFA reports that April U.S. exports DDGS declined 13% to 777,617 metric tons.

Mexico remained our top customer for the tenth consecutive month despite a 25% cut from March volumes, with imports totaling 157,339 mt. Mexico, South Korea (111,573, -13%), Indonesia (73,341 mt, +7%), and Vietnam (65,258 mt, +23%) together captured roughly half of our global market in April. Japan (41,984 mt, +14%), the European Union (41,832 mt, +45%)—with the entirety bound for Ireland—Colombia (39,495 mt, a tick lower), Thailand (39,365 mt, +179%), Canada (36,008 mt, -26%), and Ecuador (30,847 mt, +44% to a record high) imported sizeable volumes as well. Year-to-date DDGS exports total 3.21 million mt, coming in 13% below last year at this time and representing the smallest January-April exports in a decade.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA