Renewable Energy Report: November 2017 Report

On September 13, 2017, the Chinese government proposed an implementation plan on the Expansion of Ethanol Production and Promotion for transportation fuel. The proposed plan is intended to achieve nationwide use of 10 percent ethanol (E10) by 2020. Currently, there is no ethanol blending mandate on the national scale in China, but some provincial governments have adopted ethanol blend requirements at varying degrees. In this report, we examine the current situation in the Chinese fuel ethanol market and some potential impacts of China's policy announcements on the U.S. ethanol industry. This report is mostly based on the recent Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report published by USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS).

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The U.S. export sales published by USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) November 9, 2017, reported weekly net corn exports(1)  sales reached a volume of 93.09 million bushels (2.364 million metric tons) from October 27 to November 2, 2017. Net corn exports increased 61.14 million bushels (191.4 percent) from the previous week, and 48.56 million bushels from the previous four-week average (92 percent). Weekly export sales(2)  during the ninth week of the 2017/18 marketing year (19.28 million bushels) were down 18.1 percent relative to the previous week (23.55 million bushels) (see Figure 1). As Figure 1 shows, except for weeks one and eight, 2017/18 weekly export sales have been below weekly sales during previous marketing years. 

Figure 1. U.S. Corn Weekly Export (All Countries)

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Global ethanol production has increased rapidly over the last few years. A recent report authored by Jayson Beckman and Getachew Nigatu and published by USDA Economic Research Service looks at major ethanol-producing countries in detail, and discusses the different blending mandates.