US ethanol exports in the first six months of 2014 soared 56% year on year to 1.6 billion liters (416 million gallons), according to US Census Bureau data released Wednesday.
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The data includes all ethanol types except for beverage use.
The data shows US ethanol exports totaled 227 million liters in June, up 13% compared with May's total, and 76% above the 129 million liters exported in June 2013.
The majority of the US ethanol exports in June -- 151 million liters -- were classified as denatured ethanol for fuel use, with most, some 125.5 million liters, sent to Canada. The second most popular destination was the United Arab Emirates with 19 million liters.
Exports to the UAE have surged 35% year on year in the first half of 2014 to 137 million liters. Traders expect exports to the UAE to remain strong, and see it as a growing outlet for US ethanol in 2014 and 2015.
US exports of denatured ethanol for fuel use totaled 110 million liters in June 2013.
A vessel carrying 20 million liters was recently reported to have been fixed to leave the US Gulf Coast in mid-August headed for Fujairah, according to information from shipping brokers.
US exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use jumped from 15.2 million liters in June 2013 to 71.3 million liters in June, with Europe ranking as the top destination at 19.8 million liters -- Spain taking 16.3 million liters and the Netherlands 3.5 million liters.
The volumes taken by Spain are expected to be designated for blending for re-export into North Africa, sources said.
US ethanol exports are expected to remain strong throughout 2014 amid softer US ethanol prices due to tumbling feedstock prices.
Despite a recent drop in production margins, levels remain well above 2013 marks and should support plants continuing to boost output rates.
Estimates from Kingsman, a unit of Platts, show US fuel ethanol exports growing more than 20% compared with 2013, to a total of almost 3 billion liters, in 2014.