Brazilian imports of U.S. ethanol pick up in October

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Forum News Service file photo.

SAO PAULO – Brazilian imports of fuel ethanol rose to 9.6 million liters (2.5 million gallons) in October as local demand for the biofuel continued to climb, data released by the Trade Ministry on Friday showed.

Brazil imported only 930 liters of the biofuel in October 2014 and 5.6 million liters in September. All of the imported ethanol last month came from the United States and was imported to the Amazonian port of Manaus.

From January through October, Brazil imported 450.8 million liters of ethanol, mostly from the United States, up 14 percent from 385.2 million liters in the same year-ago period, the Trade Ministry reported.

Imports of U.S. ethanol to Brazil’s north/northeast region had recently tapered off after the roughly 30 percent depreciation in the real against the dollar over the past year made the trade less attractive.

But analysts say a prolonged and deepening drought in Brazil’s north/northeastern cane producing region due to El Niño is expected to hurt biofuel output there and could favor limited imports of ethanol in the coming year.

Estimates for the region’s cane crop have already been lowered and forecasts for rain in the coming months continue to be revised lower.

Rising prices and taxes for gasoline are expected to keep demand for ethanol in Brazil above mills’ capacity to produce the biofuel, and favor imports over the next several months.