Farm Progress

The real story behind US Ethanol exports

Be patient: Higher corn prices may be coming.

Kevin Van Trump, Founder

January 25, 2017

2 Min Read

Corn trades in a tight range on very little fresh news or headlines.Technically the old-crop MAR17 contract continues to trade right around the 200-Day Moving Average. It still feels like there is heavy nearby resistance in $3.80 to $4.00 range. More stiff new-crop DEC17 resistance still seems to be in the $3.95 to $4.05 range.

Keep in mind, corn prices have now pushed to fresh six-month highs. From a fundamental perspective most all talk and debate seems to be circulating around weather forecasts and production estimates for South America. Flooding, unplanted areas and drought drag is the concern for Argentina, while parts of southern Brazil are also gaining some attention.

As both a producer and a spec I'm staying patient, thinking the market has very little room nearby to work itself aggressively higher or lower. In other words I'm simply looking to let a bit of time tick off the clock before I make my next move. 

U.S. Ethanol Export Off To A Strong Start in '17: 

Exports of U.S. ethanol are off to a strong start for the first quarter of the 2016/17 marketing year and are at their highest levels during that time frame over the past five years. Brazil, Canada and China were the top customers for U.S. ethanol, respectively.

The real story to this strong export pace is due in large part to Brazil who has increased imports of U.S. ethanol substantially to 111.6 million gallons in the first three months of the current marketing year, representing nearly a third of total U.S. ethanol exports, the second highest volume of U.S. ethanol exports to that country over the last decade.

The Brazilian government is enforcing mandates that are driving the increases in imports of U.S. ethanol, as Brazilian sugarcane has been diverted to sugar production. To enforce the mandate, Brazil ramped up imports of price competitive U.S. ethanol. The question now becomes how big of a setback we will take with the hike in Chinese ethanol import tariffs?  


About the Author(s)

Kevin Van Trump


Kevin is a leading expert in Agricultural marketing and analysis, he also produces an award-winning and world-recognized daily industry Ag wire called "The Van Trump Report." With over 20 years of experience trading professionally at the CME, CBOT and KCBOT, Kevin is able to 'connect-the-dots' and simplify the complex moving parts associated with today's markets in a thought provoking yet easy to read format. With thousands of daily readers in over 40 countries, Kevin has become a sought after source for market direction, timing and macro views associated with the agricultural world. Kevin is a top featured guest on many farm radio programs and business news channels here in the United States. He also speaks internationally to hedge fund managers and industry leading agricultural executives about current market conditions and 'black swan' forecasting. Kevin is currently the acting Chairman of Farm Direction, an international organization assembled to bring the finest and most current agricultural thoughts and strategies directly to the world's top producers. The markets have dramatically changed and Kevin is trying to redefine how those in the agricultural world can better manage their risk and better understand the adversity that lies ahead. 

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