The United States exported 121.9 million gallons (mg) of ethanol in November—down 7% from October’s huge total, but still the third-largest monthly total in five years, according to government trade data released today and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association. Brazil was the top market again in November, followed by Canada and China. Year-to-date exports stood at 947.4 mg, implying an annual total of 1.034 billion gallons for calendar year 2016.
Shipments to Brazil jumped to 50.9 mg in November, representing 42% of the monthly total and making Brazil the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the second straight month. Exports to Brazil have been rising steadily since May, when the country recorded 6 mg of imports from the U.S. Canada scaled back from the prior month as 24.8 mg (20% of U.S. ethanol exports) moved north of the border in November. Meanwhile China increased its purchases of U.S. ethanol, pulling in 19.8 mg (16%) and the country’s largest monthly volume since April. With over three-fourths of total exports heading to the Big Three, the remaining volumes headed to India (11.3 mg, or 9%), Peru (5.1 mg, or 4%), South Korea (3.9 mg, or 3%) and Mexico (2.8 mg, or 2%). With only one month left in the calendar year, it’s still a toss-up between Canada and Brazil as our largest customer for 2016 as each maintained 24% of U.S. ethanol exports, with China falling behind at 19%.
Sales of undenatured fuel ethanol in November increased by 9% over last month’s record-breaking level to a new high of 76.0 mg. Brazil’s draw of 48.9 mg was equivalent to two-thirds of all undenatured exports and a 22% increase over the prior month. The remaining undenatured export volume was primarily shared by India (11.2 mg), China (6.6 mg), South Korea (3.8 mg), Mexico (2.5 mg) and Peru (2.1 mg). November exports of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol were 41.5 mg, denoting a 13 mg (23%) decline from October. The primary export markets were Canada (23.4 mg, or 56%) and China (13.2 mg, or 32%), with Peru (3.0 mg) and Brazil (1.9 mg) taking up much of the remainder.
Sales of denatured ethanol for non-fuel use lost some of the momentum gained the prior month with 3.8 mg shipped, a 29% decrease. Nigeria (2.3 mg) and Canada (1.4 mg) maintained their grip on exports with 97% of market share combined. November sales of undenatured fuel for non-fuel, non-beverage use decreased by 75%, returning to a more normal volume of 525,682 gallons. Mexico (224,578 gal.), Singapore (86,240 gal.) and India (65,509 gal.) are the largest importers.