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December Sees Near-Record Ethanol Exports

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The official government numbers are in and they confirm that 2017 was an unprecedented year for ethanol exports. According to government data released Tuesday and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the year ended with December shipments of 173.3 million gallons (mg) of U.S. ethanol–the largest volume of monthly exports in six years and the second-highest on record (surpassed only by 178.0 mg in Dec. 2011).

The wave of shipments in December thrust the annual total for 2017 to 1.37 billion gallons, up 17% from 2016, 50% more from 2015 and more than double the 2013 export total of 617 mg. Brazil was the leading importer of U.S. ethanol in 2017, receiving a third of total shipments. Exports accounted for approximately 8.7% of U.S. ethanol production in 2017 compared to 7.6% in 2016. In conjunction with today’s data release, RFA published a statistical summary that takes a closer look at 2017 exports.

Four countries accounted for two-thirds of all global shipments of American ethanol in December. Brazil was the top destination at 48.6 mg, accounting for 28% of U.S. exports–a 73% increase over November and a seven-month high. Canada was the second-largest market at 23.1 mg (13% market share), importing 4% less ethanol in December. Meanwhile China dashed back into the market, importing 22.2 mg (13% of the export market). That was the country’s largest volume imported in 13 months. India rounded out our largest customers in December with 20.0 mg (12% share), a 30% increase over November.

Source: Ann Lewis, Research Analyst- Renewable Fuels Association Press Release