The US exported 461 million liters of ethanol in January, up 24.2%, or 89.9 million liters, from December, Department of Agriculture data showed Tuesday.
January’s total was up 24% from the same month in 2016, when exporters sold 322.3 million liters. January saw the third highest volume exported since December 2011 and was the strongest first month of any year on record.
Brazil, Canada and India were the top destinations for fuel ethanol in December, taking 223 million liters, 91.3 million liters and 42 million liters, respectively.
China, one of the largest buyers of fuel-grade ethanol in 2016, took no product as they adjusted the tariff on ethanol imports to 30% from 5% at the beginning of the year.
Most US sources continue to expect over 1 billion gallons in exports in 2017 despite China departing the market. Brazil and India are currently expected to pick up the demand left by China.
Exports have become more crucial to producers’ balances as production expansions at plants across the country have pushed output rates to all-time highs.
Production reached a record 1.061 million b/d in the week ended January 27, according to Energy Information Administration data. It was 1.034 million b/d in the week ended February 24, up 47,000 b/d on the year.
The beginning of the year frequently sees stocks build as gasoline demand reaches its annual low. If sellers can’t find demand for their ethanol, stocks can quickly find themselves in a glut.