By Ann Lewis, Senior Analyst
April U.S. ethanol exports rocketed to a four-year high of 185.2 million gallons (mg). Shipments were up 48% from March and represented the third-largest monthly export volume on record. Canada logged a 17% increase in imports (40.1 mg, its second-largest volume on record) and maintained its status as our top customer for the thirteenth consecutive month (capturing 22% of April exports). U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil leaped to 30.0 mg (up from zero), the largest volume in two years. South Korea saw weaker sales in April, importing 23.5 mg (-7%). Other substantial markets included Singapore (tripled to a record high of 19.0 mg), the Netherlands (13.8 mg, +79%), the United Kingdom (12.8 mg, up from essentially zero), India (11.9 mg, -13%), and Peru (9.0 mg, +99%). Notably, China again was absent from our export market. Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first four months of 2022 were 577.2 mg, up 15% from the same period in 2021.
The U.S. did not log any meaningful imports of foreign ethanol in April (South Africa shipped 10,411 gallons of denatured fuel ethanol). Total year-to-date imports stand at 10.7 mg.
U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, scaled back in April by 12% to 813,749 (mt), a 14-month low. While Mexico cut its imports of U.S. DDGS by a third to the lowest volume since Feb. 2021 (125,025 mt), it remained our top customer for the nineteenth consecutive month. Shipments also thinned to Vietnam (105,135 mt, -6%), South Korea (97,654 mt, -24%), and Canada (80,121 mt, -24%). Shipments to these four markets represented half of U.S. DDGS exports in April. Other larger customers included Indonesia (66,701 mt, -5%), Bangladesh (41,853 mt, +671% to a record high), Morocco (39,113 mt, a six-fold increase), Japan (35,907 mt, -46%), Colombia (doubled to 34,057 mt), and Spain (33,882 mt, up from zero). Year-to-date DDGS shipments totaled 3.7 million mt, up 8% from 2021.