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November Brazilian ethanol imports highest since January 2012: SECEX

Santos, Brazil — Brazilian ethanol imports in November were the highest since January 2012 at 139.6 million liters, up 94% from October and up from just 10 million liters in November 2015, data from the Secretariat of Foreign Trade (SECEX), showed Monday.

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Roughly 126.5 million liters entered in the country via the ports of Itaqui and Suape in the Northeast, and 13 million liters entered via Santos in the Southeast. The remainder entered through other ports and airports in the Southeast and South of Brazil.

The volume discharged in Itaqui and Suape and most of the volume discharged in Santos was anhydrous fuel to blend with gasoline to meet local demand, while the small balance is likely to be samples and product for industrial purposes, according to Platts Analytics' Kingsman.

The US was the supplier of 98% of imports in November, or 137 million liters.

Brazil has increased imports this year due to tight supply as producers have allocated more sugarcane to sugar production at the expense of ethanol because of high international sugar prices.

Ethanol production (hydrous and anhydrous) in the key Center-South region since the 2016-17 sugarcane since began April 1 through November 16 amounted to 23.55 billion liters, down 5% on the year, data from industry association UNICA showed. The season is drawing to a close in the Center-South, and Platts Analytics expects total production for the season to be 25.6 billion liters, down 9% on the year.

The CS region is made up of the Center-West, Southeast and South of Brazil.

CS Brazil also produces a small volume of ethanol from corn, which so far this season totaled 92 million liters, up 77% on the year, UNICA said. Ethanol is also produced in the North-Northeast region using sugarcane as feedstock, but production is also lower this season, which through November 16 amounted to nearly 972 million liters, down 18% on the year, data from the agriculture ministry showed.

January-November ethanol imports amounted to 694 million liters, up 39% on the year, SECEX said. Ethanol imports through the Northeast ports accounted for 95% of the total, up 60% year on year. The balance entered through the Southeast, down 74% year on year.

Platts Analytics expects imports to continue into the Northeast and Southeast ports. Over December 2016-March 2017 imports are expected to hit a record high of nearly 670 million liters.

--Alessandra Rosete,

--Edited by Jonathan Dart,