Produtores de etanol reagem a novas medidas da UE

  • Market: Biofuels
  • 22/09/23

Participantes do mercado brasileiro de combustíveis demonstraram surpresa com as novas medidas de monitoramento da União Europeia (UE) sobre as importações de etanol no bloco, mas não esperam que a situação evolua para uma barreira comercial.

Na semana passada, a Comissão Europeia anunciou a implementação de medidas de vigilância retroativas sobre as importações de etanol de vários países, incluindo o Brasil e os Estados Unidos.

As medidas não restringirão as importações, mas proporcionarão um monitoramento rápido e mitigarão potenciais danos futuros aos produtores da UE, segundo o documento. Será exigido dos países-membros que partilhem dados de importação com a comissão.

Produtores brasileiros consultados pela Argus não estavam dispostos a falar abertamente sobre o anúncio da Comissão Europeia, considerando "muito cedo" para definir uma posição formal sobre as ramificações para produtores e clientes de etanol em ambos os lados do Atlântico.

Todos concordam que as exportações brasileiras não enfrentarão grandes obstáculos.

"A Europa é um importador massivo de etanol. Essas cargas são essenciais para compensar a escassez de oferta local", disse um membro da indústria à Argus.

As fontes argumentam que a história recente das várias medidas anunciadas pela UE para monitorar o setor- incluindo uma semelhante em 2020, solicitada pela França em nome da indústria do etanol - não resultou em repercussões significativas. "Me parece apenas um instrumento de pressão para atender o lobby dos países produtores de etanol, mas precisamos ficar de olho nisso de todo modo."

Consultados pela Argus, o Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria, Comércio e Serviços (MDIC) e a Secretaria de Comércio Exterior (Secex) disseram que acompanham com atenção os movimentos do bloco e buscarão os melhores caminhos para "para superar eventuais dificuldades às exportações brasileiras, caso isso ocorra."

O ministério também destacou que os fluxos brasileiros para a UE cresceram nos últimos anos, mas se estabilizaram um pouco entre janeiro-agosto de 2023, com quedas tanto em valores, de $243 bilhões para $213 bilhões, no último período, quanto em volume, de 316.000m³ para 304.000m³, em relação ao mesmo período de 2022.

O Ministério das Relações Exteriores do Brasil também está monitorando a situação, disseram fontes com conhecimento do assunto.

Perspectiva de mercado incerta

Os volumes que saem do Brasil em direção à Europa registaram baixa ao longo de 2022, em um contexto complexo de arbitragem transatlântica mais atrativa, de mudanças nos fundamentos do mercado e do papel importante do etanol na redução das emissões de gases de efeito estufa (GEE) provenientes dos transportes na UE.

O conturbado cenário geopolítico no continente resultou em uma disparada nos preços da gasolina e um aumento na competitividade do etanol no mercado europeu, com crescimento da venda de mesclas como o E10 e E85.

O maior interesse pelo etanol no mercado europeu também reflete a adoção de mesclas mais elevadas de etanol na gasolina em alguns países.

Grande parte dessa necessidade tem sido atendida por um fluxo mais robusto de exportações do Brasil, em um momento em que a demanda por etanol permanece retraída no mercado interno.

Ainda não se sabe se esta tendência se solidificará em um fluxo de exportação resiliente, mas há uma oportunidade estratégica para o setor brasileiro de etanol se posicionar como um fornecedor importante no mercado da UE.

"Depois de alguns anos de ausência, o Brasil busca, mais uma vez, um papel maior no cenário mundial, o que cria esperança para essa longevidade, mesmo com o protecionismo europeu", explicou a fonte da indústria.

Produtores europeus em alerta

Na UE, produtores receberam de forma positiva a medida de vigilância, com a Associação Europeia de Etanol Renovável (ePure, na sigla em inglês) descrevendo a decisão como "notícias tranquilizadoras" para o setor.

"A indústria de etanol renovável da UE está pronta para agir para evitar mais prejuízos, visando preservar o setor e os empregos", disse o diretor-geral da ePure, David Carpinteiro, acrescentando que a medida mira quaisquer desenvolvimentos comerciais que possam surgir da concorrência desleal.

A medida vem na esteira de um aumento nas importações de etanol para a UE, desde o início da década. As importações de etanol para todos os fins aumentaram quase 80pc, entre 2021 e 2022, enquanto as importações de etanol combustível subiram 45pc, em 2022, em comparação ao ano anterior, com base em dados alfandegários do bloco.

Os EUA, o Brasil e o Peru foram os principais fornecedores do biocombustível ao grupo no período. A Comissão Europeia observou que o mercado da UE atrai outros países exportadores devido aos seus preços elevados, 15pc superiores aos preços de importação do Brasil e dos EUA.

Produtores europeus contatados pela Argus não se mostraram dispostos a falar publicamente sobre as medidas, mas o sentimento foi, em geral, positivo entre os participantes.

A indústria europeia do etanol foi abalada pelo crescimento dos custos de energia, o que levou a um longo período de margens de produção negativas, uma vez que o gás natural é um custo de produção fundamental para os produtores regionais. O suprimento de grãos também se tornou cada vez mais desafiador.

Incapazes de competir com custos de produção consideravelmente mais baixos, muitos produtores europeus frearam a produção no ano passado, alguns em até 50pc. Segundo a Comissão Europeia, a indústria local viu a sua participação de mercado diminuir em 10pc durante o período.

A UE também está considerando estender o estatuto de isenção de tarifas de importação do Paquistão até 2027. O Paquistão emergiu recentemente como o principal fornecedor de etanol não-desnaturado ao bloco e, atualmente, se beneficia da isenção de impostos para as suas exportações de etanol.

Por Vinicius Damazio e Evelina Lungu


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