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China imports 53,530 cu m ethanol in August, 2nd highest on record

Singapore — China imported 53,530 cu m of ethanol in August, down 22.5% from July's record 69,077 cu m but still the second-highest monthly volume on record, according to customs data.

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The volume of August imports highlights the continued opening of an arbitrage for seaborne ethanol into China, which has imported 179,313 cu m of ethanol over January-August, up from 26,369 cu m for the whole of 2014.

This shows China fast overtaking the Philippines as the second-largest Asian destination for seaborne ethanol after the combined Japan/South Korea hub, for which vessels break bulk in Ulsan.

Pakistan was China's top ethanol supplier in August, sending 37,282 cu m of undenatured ethanol, down 15% from July. Pakistan has a free trade agreement with China exempting the country from import duties into China.


The US was the next-largest shipper to China in August, sending 12,415 cu m of denatured ethanol, more than double 5,055 cu m in July imports.

Vietnam shipped 3,766 cu m of undenatured ethanol, down from 5,019 cu m in July.

Denatured ethanol shipped into China is typically blended into gasoline by the country's oil companies, while undenatured ethanol tends to be used by the chemical or pharmaceutical industries.

Chinese domestic ethanol prices have been inflated in recent months by high feedstock corn and tapioca prices, and by low utilization rates across China's ethanol production capacity.

--Julien Hall, julien.hall@platts.com
--Edited by Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@platts.com