U.S. exports of ethanol jumped 33% to 76.3 million gallons in January, according to analyst; Brazil could become net ethanol importer this year as plantation investment slumps

NEW YORK , March 15, 2012 () – Government data recently released showed the U.S. exported 76.3 million gallons of ethanol in January. January 2012 exports were 33% above January 2011 totals and nearly six times higher than January 2010. Exports to Brazil fell from previous months, due largely to that nation's recent decision to reduce the mandatory ethanol blend level from 25% to 20%. The Paragon Report examines the outlook for companies in the ethanol industry and provides equity research on BioFuel Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: BIOF - News) and Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM - News).

Earlier this week Bloomberg reported that Brazil is struggling to make enough ethanol to satisfy domestic demand just as the U.S. scraps restrictions on imports for the first time since 1980. Investment in new sugar-cane assets and plantations in Brazil collapsed to $700 million last year, from $7.84 billion in 2008, according to Salim Morsy, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York.

Brazil may become a net importer of ethanol this year, with purchases of 1.66 billion liters during the 2011-2012 season exceeding exports for the first time in at least 10 years, according to Sao Paulo-based consultancy Datagro.

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Pacific Ethanol, Inc. produces and markets low carbon renewable fuels in the western United States, primarily in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, and Washington. Pacific Ethanol recently reported net sales of $241.8 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 80% from $134.2 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Cosan Limited engages in energy, food, logistics, infrastructure, and agricultural property management business activities primarily in Brazil, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and North America.

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