Ethanol exports up in January, back in net exporter category

By Holly Jessen | March 12, 2013

The latest figures show U.S. ethanol exports for January increased 16 percent from December. The 63.6 million gallons of denatured and undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol exported in January is the largest in six months and also marks the first time in six months that that the U.S. was a net exporter of ethanol, said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis for the Renewable Fuels Association, who tracks government export data. 

In comparison, the January total is more than a third lower than the average monthly export number in 2011. In addition, U.S. exports to the European Union were at 5.4 million gallons in January. That’s a 52 percent drop from December and a 63 percent decrease from the average monthly exports to the EU in 2012. “Given the anti-dumping duty that went into effect in February, exports to the EU could see a more pronounced decline going forward, Cooper said.

Looking at denatured ethanol for fuel use, exports totaled 42.1 million gallons, compared to 42 million gallons in December. Canada remained at the top of the list as the leading destination of denatured ethanol. In all, 23.9 million gallons or 57 percent of the total was exported to Canada. The United Arab Emirates was the destination for the next largest amount of 9.8 million gallons, followed by Peru and Brazil. 

Undenatured ethanol for fuel use saw larger increases, with 15.9 million gallons exported in January, up 60 percent from the month before. That number is one third higher than the monthly average exports last year, Cooper pointed out. UAE was at the top of this list, receiving 5.2 million gallons, followed by Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands and the Philippines. Another 2 million gallons of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use was also exported from the U.S.

On the import side, 46.4 million gallons of fuel ethanol was imported in January, down 44 percent from last month. Brazil topped the list of importers, sending over 26.7 million gallons. The remainder came through Costa Rica, Jamaica and El Salvador.

Distillers grains exports were also up. In all, 585,237 metric tons of U.S. distillers grains were exported in January, a 10 percent increase. Mexico held onto its three month title of top importer of U.S. distillers grains, bringing in 114,081 metric tons, or nearly one fifth of the total exported. After Mexico, China received 108,224 metric tons of distillers grains, Turkey 55,460 metric tons and Canada 51,991 metric tons.