U.S. Ethanol Exports Hit 2016 Low in June; No Fuel Ethanol Sent to China

Source: By Brad Addington, OPIS • Posted: Friday, August 12, 2016

U.S. ethanol exports in June fell to their lowest monthly level so far in 2016, with China notably absent as a destination for fuel ethanol, figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) show.

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 48.32 million gal in June.

Looking at all ethanol exports minus undenatured ethanol for beverage use, which is the tendency of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), U.S. ethanol exports totaled 46.40 million gal in June, representing a 16.8% drop from 55.75 million gal exported in May. Exports had topped 95 million gal in both March and April.

China has been a top destination this year for exports of fuel ethanol, but that was not the case in June, with zero volumes sent there during the month. Over the first five months of 2016, China was the destination for 105.5 million gal of denatured fuel ethanol and 23.8 million gal of undenatured fuel ethanol.

Canada once again was a major destination for U.S. fuel ethanol exports in June, with 18.6 million gal of denatured fuel ethanol getting shipped north. And, as is often the case, Canada in June was the top destination for exports of denatured ethanol for nonfuel use, with 1.8 million gal of that grade getting shipped to Canada.

Ethanol exports to Brazil continued in June despite the 2016/2017 sugarcane harvest season in Brazil’s South Central region having officially gotten underway on April 1. The DOC figures show 10.1 million gal of undenatured fuel ethanol getting shipped to Brazil in June, which is a sharp contrast from June
2015 when zero undenatured fuel ethanol got exported to Brazil.

Strong global sugar prices have motivated mills in Brazil’s South Central region to shift their production mix more heavily toward sugar at the expense of ethanol output. This is keeping Brazilian ethanol prices strong, and sales of U.S. ethanol into Brazil continue at a steady pace, especially into Brazil’s North and Northeast regions.

MINT, a service offered by OPIS parent IHS Markit, shows the chemical tanker Furuholmen as delivering ethanol from the U.S. East Coast to the port of Itaqui in the northeastern state of Maranhao, with delivery slated for this week. MINT also shows the chemical tanker Ardmore Chinook as delivering ethanol to Itaqui this week, with that volume having originated from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The Philippines returned as a destination for fuel ethanol exports in June following zero volumes shipped there in May. The DOC figures show 4.1 million gal of undenatured fuel ethanol getting shipped to the Philippines in June.

The following table shows the top destinations for U.S. fuel ethanol exports in June. Immaterial volumes of fuel ethanol were shipped in June to various countries not listed below.