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US ethanol exports rise in February, Brazil remains top destination: US Census Bureau


Montreal (Platts)6Apr2015/1220 pm EDT/1620 GMT

US ethanol exports totaled 322.5 million liters (85 million gallons) in February, an increase of 24% compared with January and up 27% year on year, according to US Census Bureau data. It is also the highest export total on record for the month of February.

The data includes all ethanol types except for beverage use.

For the third consecutive month the majority of the exports 216.4 million liters left the US as undenatured ethanol for fuel use.

Also, for the second straight month, Brazil was the main destination for US undenatured fuel ethanol with a total of 90.1 million liters, down 3% from January's total, but up 84% from 49 million liters in the year-ago period.

Brazil was the top destination for US undenatured fuel ethanol exports in 2014 with a total of 424.45 million liters, more than twice the 178 million liters transported in 2013.

Exports to Brazil surged in 2014 amid concerns about a drought in the key Center-South region the largest consuming and producer region. Brazilian ethanol prices found support throughout most of 2014 as the industry anticipated a tight domestic ethanol balance.

Exports from the US to Brazil are expected to soar in 2015 as the country recently approved a higher ethanol blend into gasoline effective March 16 to 27% from 25% and growth in output rates is forecast to be limited.

US traders expect very strong exports to the north-northeast ports of Brazil until April before volumes decline to a lower, but consistent level. In October, US exports to Brazil are expected to jump.

Over the past few days, at least five vessels were reported to have left the US Gulf Coast heading for north-northeast Brazil.

Kingsman, the agricultural analysis unit of Platts, estimates a surge of 79% in the volume of US ethanol heading to Brazil, with 2015 exports expected to reach 760 million liters.

India saw the second most US undenatured ethanol for fuel exports in February with a total of 64 million liters, compared with zero in January and February 2014. The Philippines came third in the table with 27 million liters, up from 12.6 million liters in January and zero a year ago.

Canada was the top destination for US denatured ethanol for fuel use exports in February with 48 million liters, down 28% compared with January and 23% lower year on year. The United Arab Emirates was the second main destination, receiving 38 million liters, compared with just 34,000 liters in January and up 46% year on year.

Beatriz Pupo,
Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,