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Brazil's 2024 ethanol exports seen strong, helped by corn ethanol

(Reuters) - Brazil has the potential to maintain exports of ethanol at strong levels in 2024, after last year posting the highest volumes since 2020 due to an increase in corn ethanol supply, an Argus Media specialist said on Wednesday.

Brazil's total ethanol shipments stand at 2.558 billion liters last year, up 2.5% from 2022, the best performance since 2020 when it had exported 2.7 billion liters, according to trade figures compiled by Argus Media, which specializes in pricing and consulting services.

"The volume should remain strong (in 2024), between 2.1 billion and 2.5 billion liters," Amance Boutin, fuel analyst at Argus Media, said, noting corn ethanol production has been growing in the country, driven by an increase in capacity.

His assessment comes despite market expectations of a lower supply of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil's Center-South region next season, which begins in April, due to a smaller harvest and with mills heading a larger part of sugarcane to produce sugar.

"We're going to have that guarantee, corn ethanol is managing to have a vocation for being exported," he said, adding an improvement in the country's logistics has facilitated the product exports.

Brazil's ethanol exports in February totaled 159.1 million liters, the highest in eight years for the month, with increasing domestic supply and growing demand from Saudi Arabia and India, Argus said.

South Korea is the main destination for Brazilian ethanol, accounting for 30% of the total volume shipped from the South American nation last month, followed by India and Saudi Arabia, with 23% and 18%, respectively.

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