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China's March ethanol imports fall 10.7% on month to 176,468 cu m

China's total ethanol imports in March were 176,468 cu m, down 10.7% on themonth, data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customsshowed.

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In January 2017, China implemented a 30% import tariff on denatured ethanol,which led to a sharp fall in ethanol imports. Prior to that, US was thelargest supplier of denatured ethanol to China, accounting for almost theentire volume of the country's imports.

Toward the end of 2017, the arbitrage window opened for US ethanol shipmentsto China, leading to imports in the first quarter of this year soaring to424,437 cu m of denatured ethanol. Total Q1 ethanol imports amounted to494,823 cu m, compared with 2,457 cu m in the year-ago period.

In early April, however, China increased the import duty on US denaturedethanol by 15 percentage points to 45%. This was likely to keep the arbitragewindow closed for the rest of the year, market sources said.

Meanwhile, imports of undenatured ethanol in March were 32,346 cu m, up 276%from February. Pakistan was the biggest supplier in March, accounting forvirtually all -- 99.8% -- of the total imports of undenatured ethanol.

China exported 3,973 cu m of ethanol in March, 83% of it going to North Korea.

For dried distiller grains, Chinese imported 12,894 mt in March, 3.5 timesmore than February. 100% of China's DDGS imports in March came from the US.

--Christina Siantar, Christina.siantar@spglobal.com

--Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta@spglobal.com