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South Korea ethanol imports jump 39% on year in 2017

South Korea ethanol imports jump 39% on year in 2017

SEOL: South Korea’s ethanol imports increased 39% year on year to 261,584 mt in 2017, according to data released Thursday by Korea Customs Service.

The US remained the key import origin last year, accounting for 78% of total imports, followed by Pakistan at 10% and South Africa at 6%. Undenatured ethanol imports however, fell 6% year on year to 143,802 mt in 2017. Australia overtook Brazil as the largest supplier of undenatured ethanol last year, accounting for 44% of total imports, followed by Cambodia at 16% and Pakistan at 14%.

Volumes from Brazil accounted for only 9% of the total undenatured ethanol imports, down sharply from 49% in the previous year. South Korea has been importing more undenatured ethanol form Australia since December last year because of more favorable prices compared with Brazilian and Pakistani industrial grade ethanol. This takes the landed price of grade B ethanol from Brazil into South Korea close to $600/cu m, S&P Global Platts data showed.  In December, South Korea imported 33,922 mt of ethanol, up 5.5% from November, customs data showed.  Of this, 57.7% was denatured ethanol and the rest undenatured ethanol. The main origins for denatured ethanol imports in December were the US (79%), Pakistan (13%) and South Africa (5%). For undenatured ethanol, 62% of imports came from Australia, 25% from Cambodia and 7% from Pakistan. On the export front, South Korea exported 24,750 mt of ethanol in 2017, up 14% year on year.