Closing arbitrage brings China ethanol imports to 17-month low of 1,191 cu m


Chinese imports of ethanol in October fell to a 17-month low of 1,191 cu m, according to China customs data released Saturday, as declining domestic prices due to a glut of corn reduced trading opportunities into the country.

In October, China imported 1,188 cu m of denatured ethanol from South Africa, and negligible volumes from a handful of other origins including the US, Japan and the UK.

Denatured ethanol is typically blended into gasoline as part of biofuels mandates.

These volumes are expected to pick up again in coming months, with a handful of cargoes heard trading from the US, loading in October and November.

Meanwhile, the country also imported a very small volume -- 3,914 liters -- of undenatured ethanol, mostly from the US.

Chinese ethanol exports remained marginal, totalling 3,121 cu m, including 1,636 cu m of denatured ethanol shipped to North Korea and 1,320 cu m of undenatured ethanol to South Korea.

Traders are keeping a close eye on potential Chinese ethanol export flows, as domestic prices are lower than the rest of Asia.

For dried distiller grains, or DDGs, Chinese imports fell over 50% month on month in October to 134,934 mt, from 272,240 mt in September. All of China's DDGS imports in October came from the US.


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