US ethanol exports up 85 percent in Q1 of 2016-’17 marketing year

By U.S. Grains Council | January 17, 2017

Exports of U.S. ethanol are off to a strong start for the first quarter of the 2016-‘17 marketing year and are at their highest levels during that time frame over the past five years, according to data recently released by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).

Exports totaled 353.2 million gallons for the months of September, October and November 2016, the first quarter of marketing year 2016-‘17.

Brazil, Canada and China were the top customers for U.S. ethanol, respectively. India, Peru, South Korea and Mexico were the next largest markets with U.S. ethanol exports totaling 62.4 million gallons over the same time period. These top seven markets accounted for 88 percent of U.S. ethanol exports in the first quarter and are markets the U.S. Grains Council and its industry partners are currently or will be working in to develop demand for U.S. ethanol.

Exports of U.S. ethanol to Brazil have increased substantially to 111.6 million gallons in the first three months of the current marketing year, representing nearly a third of total U.S. ethanol exports, the second highest volume of U.S. ethanol exports to that country over the last decade. Enforceable government ethanol mandates are driving the increases in Brazilian imports of U.S. ethanol, as Brazilian sugarcane has been diverted to sugar production to capture a price premium. To enforce its mandates, Brazil ramped up imports of price-competitive U.S. ethanol, highlighting the important role of trade in meeting ethanol mandates globally.

U.S. ethanol exports to Canada totaled 87.8 million gallons during the first quarter of the 2016-‘17 marketing year. This is the highest level of U.S. ethanol imports by Canada during this time frame, with a 26 percent increase in imports over the first quarter of marketing year 2015-‘16.

The U.S. Grains Council along with its partners in global ethanol market development, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, recently conducted technical workshops in Asia and Latin America describing the positive environmental and public health benefits of increased ethanol use. USGC also uses trade missions to target countries, trade teams bringing stakeholders to the United States, and industry working groups to support the development of the global ethanol market.