Sales of U.S. Ethanol Lose Momentum in July while U.S. DDGS Exports Post Big Gains

by Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst
September 3, 2020 — U.S. ethanol exports were 74.0 million gallons (mg) in July 2020, a 6% decrease to the lowest volume in ten months. However, sales to Canada continued to brighten with 30.1 mg of ethanol crossing the border, rising 10% to a high for the year. Exports to India also climbed (up 3% to 13.0 mg) as did sales to the Netherlands (7.9 mg, +131%), South Korea (7.8 mg, +69%), and the Philippines (6.2 mg, up from zero). Other sizable customers of U.S. ethanol included Mexico (4.0 mg), Norway (1.8 mg), Peru (1.3 mg), and Vietnam (1.1 mg). The Brazilian market was conspicuously quiet for the second consecutive month. Global year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol totaled 804.8 mg, implying an annualized total of 1.38 bg.
July U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol shipments more than doubled (+113%) to 26.4 mg, with India returning to the market (12.7 mg). However, total global sales in July remained 14.6 mg (36%) below year-ago volumes. The Philippines (6.2 mg, up from zero), Mexico (3.8 mg, -48%), and the Netherlands (2.2 mg, up from zero) also purchased significant volumes of American-made undenatured fuel ethanol.
Sales of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol relaxed in July, down 19% to 43.7 mg, although shipments to chief customer Canada rose 14% to 27.1 mg (accounting for 62% of global sales). Exports also surged to South Korea (up 78% to 7.7 mg) and the Netherlands (up 66% to 5.7 mg).
Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes declined 67% to 4.0 mg, the lowest volume for the year. Canada (2.6 mg), Sweden (0.6 mg), India (0.3 mg), and Mexico (0.2 mg) were our largest customers.
The U.S. imported 11.1 mg of cane ethanol from Brazil. Year-to-date imports total 57.6 mg.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—vaulted 23% in July to 1.08 million metric tons (mt), up 30% from a year ago. Shipments to Mexico intensified, increasing 66% to 162,234 mt, which reestablished our neighbor as the largest market for U.S. DDGS. Sales to Turkey spiked to a two-year high of 143,765 mt, up 65% over June. Despite a 32% decline from last month’s record high, exports to Thailand were robust as well at 141,749 mt. Rounding out the top five U.S. DDGS customers in July were South Korea (120,528 mt, +74%) and Vietnam (108,062 mt, +15%). Worldwide exports for the first seven months of the year were 6.06 million mt, implying an annualized total of 10.39 million mt.
About the Renewable Fuels Association
The Renewable Fuels Association is the leading trade association for America’s ethanol industry. Its mission is to advance the development, production, and use of ethanol fuel by strengthening America’s ethanol industry and raising awareness about the benefits of renewable fuels. RFA’s members are working to help America become cleaner, safer, more energy independent and economically secure.