Willis: Ethanol Reaches Highest 12-Month Export Period in History

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) released the export data for the month of September, 2018, today and exports continue to stay on pace for a record year, now outpacing the total exports for the entire year of 2016.

In August, we experienced the highest 12-month period for ethanol exports in history and September has marked the second consecutive month of historic exports on a rolling basis. This past September, 89 million gallons (mg) were exported bringing the 12-month total to 1.62 billion gallons (bg), a record high. With the Brazilian sugar cane harvest now complete and ethanol shipments reportedly on their way south for October, we can expect those numbers to continue to grow in the final three months of the year.

A number of countries stand out among rolling export numbers over the past two years, both as consistent importers and as burgeoning markets. Brazil remained the world’s largest market for ethanol, behind the US, and has topped export charts for some time. As discussed in previous articles in this series, the country’s decreased performance over the summer months of 2018 is attributable to the cyclical nature of their crop harvest. Despite Brazil’s annual slowdown in imports due to domestic feedstock production (see the graph below), it remains a top market due to the country’s ethanol policies.