DDGS exports drop overall, exports to China cut in half

By Holly Jessen | January 18, 2012

After a record-breaking year in distillers grains exports in 2010, the Renewable Fuels Association expects total 2011 export numbers to decrease by about 14 percent, said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis for RFA.

Specifically, exports of DDGS are expected to reach 7.72 million metric tons by the end 2011, down from the record 9.03 million metric tons exported in 2010, Cooper said. On the other hand, exports are up from the 2009 total, which was 5.65 million metric tons.

Government data released Jan. 13 shows that 7.08 million metric tons of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles were exported through the end of November. Notably, DDGS exports reached the lowest monthly tally of the year in November at 538,174 metric tons. China took in the most DDGS, at 140,741 metric tons, and Mexico and Canada followed with 117,108 and 53,458 metric tons, respectively.

A spike in exports to China contributed to the record amount of DDGS exported in 2010. In just four years, China’s importing of DDGS went from zero to millions of metric tons in 2010, according to information from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It started out modestly with 1,150 metric tons in 2007 and grew to more than 542,000 metric tons in 2009. In 2010, China became the No. 1 importer of U.S. DDGS.

Then came the anti-dumping investigation, which was launched at the end of 2010. China’s Commerce Ministry announced it was extending the deadline to June 28 to announce the results of the investigation. Following the anti-dumping case, DDGS export volumes to China have decreased. Comparing the numbers through November, China imported 1.28 million metric tons in 2011, down from the 2.35 million metric tons imported in 2010. “2011 export volumes to China have been almost half of what they were in 2010,” Cooper said.

That puts Mexico in the No. 1 spot for U.S. DDGS exports, with 1.64 million metric tons exported through November in 2011. China and Canada follow, with 1.28 million metric tons and 686,487 metric tons respectively.