Global use of grains for industrial products likely to rebound for ethanol, starch

by Staff
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LONDON — Global use of grains for making industrial products, mainly ethanol and starch, will register the largest annual increase in four years during 2013-14, according to the International Grains Council. Record global maize production and declines in grain prices primarily account for the expected rise in use after several years of little or no change.

The I.G.C. forecast world industrial use of grains in 2013-14 at 320.2 million tonnes, up 17.2 million tonnes, or 6%, from the prior year’s estimated use of 303 million. Industrial use of grains in 2012-13 actually was down 2.5 million tonnes from the preceding season, while use in 2011-12 rose only 8.5 million over the prior year.

The I.G.C. forecast that ethanol will account for 164.5 million tonnes of the 2013-14 use, compared with 155.9 million in 2012-13 and 163 million in 2011-12. Biofuels will account for 149.1 million tonnes of the use in making ethanol in the current crop year, compared with 140.9 million in the previous year and 147.9 million in 2011-12.

Global grain use in making starches, mainly for making starch-based sugar, was forecast by the Council at 118.7 million tonnes, against 110.9 million in 2012-13 and 106.3 million in 2011-12.

Brewing is expected to account for use of 36 million tonnes of grain in 2013-14, compared with 35.3 million in each of the two prior crop years.

The I.G.C. also analyzed national use of grains for making biofuels, with the United States accounting for 127.1 million tonnes, or 85% of global use of 149.1 million projected for 2013-14. Other national users of grains for making biofuels included: European Union, 10.3 million tonnes; Canada, 3.3 million; China, 5.4 million; and Argentina, 1 million.

On a grain basis, maize dominated in making biofuels, accounting for 138.8 million tonnes, of which 127.1 million were in the United States. Other grains used globally for making biofuels were 6.1 million tonnes of wheat, 3.2 million tonnes of sorghum, 300,000 tonnes of barley and 700,000 unspecified.

“Much of the increase for ethanol will be in the U.S, while demand for starch-based sugars in China will continue to expand,” the I.G.C. said. China demand was encouraged by favorable costs compared to cane and beet sugar, resulting in use of 50 million tonnes of grains to make starch.

Rising starch and fuel demand accounted for expanded E.U. use, bringing the industrial use total to 34.4 million tonnes in 2013-14, up 4% from the preceding year.

For the United States, the Council cited the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast that 124.5 million tonnes of corn (maize) will be used to make ethanol in 2013-14. That would be up from 118.1 million in 2012-13 but still below the peak 127.5 million tonnes used to make biofuels in 2010-11.

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