Summary: US ethanol production was unchanged this past week. However, ethanol stocks jumped 4.3%. Some analysts attribute the larger-than-expected stocks to end-of-year adjustments by firms reporting to EIA. It is estimated that blender demand was up about 1.5%. The futures-based producer margin dropped to new lows and blender margins slipped lower but are still profitable. The spread between Brazilian and US ethanol prices narrowed this week but remains well below a year ago. In the Dec WASDE, USDA lowered their projection for corn grind by 50 Mil Bu to 5,600 Mil Bu. Gasoline prices have fallen below $2/Gal in many parts of the country. Cheaper gas should lead to an increase in driving and increased gasoline consumption. However, with ethanol producers losing money on each gallon produced there is little incentive to ramp up production.
US ethanol production through the week ending last Friday totaled 308 million gallons, unchanged from the previous week.
Ethanol stocks last week totaled 1,003 million gallons, up 42 million from the previous week and up 7% from last year.
When expressed as a percent of use, ethanol stocks/use are well above average.
US motor gasoline inventories are up slightly. As of last Friday, stocks totaled 230 million barrels vs 228 Mil last week and were up 1% from last year.
US crude inventories were 441.5 million barrels, nearly unchanged from a week ago but up 1% from last year.
The futures-based ethanol crush margin is displayed above.
The futures-based blenders’ margin is displayed above.
The spread between Brazilian and US ethanol FOB prices narrowed last week, but is well below a year ago.