Industrial use of grains continues uptrend in 2016-17 with 3% rise

by Morton Sosland
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Global industrial use of grains, mainly for making ethanol, is expected to increase 3.3% in 2016-17.

LONDON – Global industrial use of grains, mainly for making ethanol, is expected to increase 3.3% in 2016-17, continuing an upward trend that began early this century. The International Grains Council, in estimating industrial use by both grains and country, placed prospective use this crop year at 339.9 million tonnes, compared with 329.1 million in the prior season. In 2014-15, global industrial grain use totaled 325.5 million. It was in 2012-13 that use first exceeded 300 million tonnes.

Ethanol manufacture again was the major driving force in industrial use of grains. It was forecast to account for 181.9 million in 2016-17, against 175.9 million in the preceding year and 173.9 in 2014-15. Biofuels as a part of ethanol use continued to be a powerful factor with a total in 2016-17 at 164.3 million tonnes.

The United States industrial use of grains rose to 173 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 169.5 million in 2015-16, a 2% gain. China followed with 67.5 million tonnes and the E.U. ranked third at 36.9 million. These two were expected to gain 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively, over 2015-16.

As has been the case for all the years the I.G.C. has compiled these estimates, the United States stands as the major user of grains for making biofuels. U.S. biofuel use in 2016-17 was forecast by the Council at 138.6 million tonnes, or 41% of the global total. American use of grains for biofuel was 135.4 million tonnes in 2015-16 and 132.5 million in 2014-15.

Other users of grains for biofuel output included the European Union at 11.3 million tonnes, against 9.8 million in 2016-17; China at 7.2 million versus 6.8 million in the prior crop year, and Canada at 3.7 million, the same as the prior year.

Starch making, which was forecast to account for 120 million tonnes of grains worldwide this year, increased nearly 4% over 115.7 million in 2015-16. Brewing use, which rose only 1%, was expected to reach 37.1 million, against 36.7 million in the preceding crop year.

The I.G.C. said the increase in grain use for starch making reflects strengthening in financial conditions. The better economy also was a positive in boosting brewing growth mainly in Africa and Far East Asia. Brewing growth in South America “stayed lackluster,” the Council said, “owing to slow economic recoveries in some areas, including Brazil.” 
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