China's Q1 2018 ethanol imports up 20039% on year to 494,823 cu m


China's total ethanol imports for March were at 176,468 cu m, taking the total Q1 2018 ethanol imports to 494,823 cu m, data released Wednesday by General Administration of Customs showed.

The latest quarterly volume was 20039% higher than Q1 2017, when the country imported only 2,457 cu m of ethanol.

In January 2017, China had implemented a 30% import tariff on denatured ethanol, leading to a sharp fall in ethanol imports. Prior to the 30% import tariff, US was the largest exporter of denatured ethanol to China, accounting for almost the entire volume of the country's ethanol imports.

Toward the end of 2017, the arbitrage window opened for US ethanol imports to China and as a result, 424,437 cu m of denatured ethanol was imported from the US over Q1.

In early April, however, China increased the import duty on US denatured ethanol by 15% to 45%. The hike will potentially keep the arbitrage window closed for the remainder of the year, market sources said.

Moving to undenatured ethanol, imports in March were at 32,346 cu m, up 276% from February. Pakistan was the biggest supplier of undenatured ethanol to China in March, accounting for 99.8% of the total denatured ethanol imports.

Meanwhile, China exported 3,973 cu m of ethanol in March and out of this, 83% was sent to the North Korean market.

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


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