US on pace to export record ethanol gallons, DG exports down

By Holly Jessen | October 18, 2011

Year-to-date, U.S. ethanol exports are at a whopping 640.7 million gallons, according to government data released Oct. 13 for January through August. The number is especially impressive as the industry has already exported more than 243 million gallons more ethanol than it did in total during 2010 and is on pace to export more than 900 million gallons for the full year, said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis for the Renewable Fuels Association.

The numbers for August were down dramatically, however. Exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol total only 52.1 million gallons, a sharp decrease from the 127.4 million gallons exported in July and, overall, the lowest monthly total so far in 2011. July, on the other hand, set a new monthly record.

Canada imported the most denatured ethanol in August, at 43.3 million gallons, followed by the United Kingdom at 10.5 million gallons and the Netherlands at 5.1 million gallons. Although Brazil and the United Arab Emirates have been leading ethanol exporters, neither country imported any U.S. product in August, Cooper noted. On the undenatured ethanol side, of the 8.9 million gallons exported in August, Mexico took in 3.9 million gallons, the Netherlands 2.3 million gallons and Singapore 2.2 million gallons—making up 94 percent of the total undenatured ethanol exported.

Exports of distillers grains are down overall from 2010. Year-to-date, the U.S. has exported 5.25 million metric tons (mt) of DDGS with the industry expected to ship nearly 8 million metric tons by the end of the year, he said. That’s down from the 9 million metric tons exported in 2010. DDGS exports doubled from 2008 to 2009 and increased 60 percent from 2009 to 2010. DDGS exports slowed, however, following China’s announcement of an antidumping investigation in January 2011. China was the top DDGS importer in 2010, bringing in 28 percent of the total DDGS exported from the U.S.

In August, DDGS totaled more than 829,000 mt, a 29 percent increase from July. Mexico was the top importer, receiving more than 196,000 mt -- 24 percent of the total DDGS shipments. However, China wasn’t far behind, importing 151,000 mt -- that country’s highest level of DDGS imports since December 2010, Cooper said. Other top five importers of DDGS are Canada, Japan and Ireland.