Brazil ethanol imports, mainly from the U.S., probably will almost double this season as consumption grows for the first time in four years, according to Grupo USJ.
Latin America’s largest economy is expected to import about 1 billion liters (263.9 million gallons) in the crop year started April 1 to meet rising local consumption, said Narciso Bertholdi, a director at USJ, which is a partner of Cargill Inc. in two sugar and ethanol ventures in Brazil.
“We’re surprised to see how domestic ethanol demand improved this year,” Bertholdi said in an Aug. 27 interview fron Araras, Brazil. “We will end up importing from the U.S. to meet the gap in demand.”
Brazil will import ethanol between December and April, when mills close for maintenance after harvest, to meet production targets for the mandatory amount of the fuel that is blended into gasoline, Bertholdi said. Most passenger cars in Brazil run on pure ethanol or a mixture of 25 percent of the biofuel with gasoline.
Ethanol consumption, which declined for three straight years, expanded 2.1 percent in the first half of 2013, according to data on Brazil’s fuel regulator website.
Brazil imported 545.6 million liters of ethanol in the previous crop year, according to information on the Unica sugar-cane industry group website.