May export report shows 32% drop due to COVID-19

By Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) released export numbers for May 2020. This is the first reporting month that truly began to show the negative effects of the demand destroyed by COVID-19 due to reduced driving around the globe. May’s exports reported at 67.5 million gallons (mg) — an almost 32% reduction from May’s one year ago, which was 98.8 mg.

The strong pre-COVID start to 2020 still has year-to-date exports slightly ahead of this point in 2019 (652 mg versus 641mg), while the most recent twelve-month rolling totals (1.47 billion gallons) have 2020 beginning to lose ground to the same twelve month period one year ago (1.53bg).

Several individual country notables over the past twelve months include Canada slightly overtaking Brazil in the top spot with exports of 323mg versus 319mg. The shipment pace to India is strong coming in at 198mg versus 190mg in the previous twelve-month period. South Korea has also had solid buying, increasing 18mg to 117mg, due to increasing amounts of ethanol being used to replace methanol in window washing fluids. Mexico exports were strong for a second consecutive month as 9mg was sent south in what is believed to satisfy demand for the hand sanitizer market.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the impacts of COVID-19 on exports in the weeks and months ahead.