Rise in daily ethanol production despite low profit margins
Daily ethanol production averaged 1.06 million barrels during the first half of November, up from 1.02 million barrels per day during the first half of October and nearly the same as a year ago. Ethanol manufacturers seem to be maintaining production volumes despite eroding profit margins in order to hold onto market share. In October, we calculated an average ethanol plant saw profit margin decline for the fourth month in a row, and ethanol pricing shows no sign of rebounding soon: Average Iowa ethanol pricing was $1.24 per gallon this week, up from $1.18 the previous week but nearly 10 cents lower than a year ago.
Use by blenders and refiners averaged 928,000 barrels per day during the week of Nov. 16, nearly the same as the week before and up 1 percent from this time last year. The seasonal pattern for utilization at this time of year indicates a 4 to 5 percent drop at the end of November, followed by rising use in December, then a 10 percent drop at the end of the year.
Weekly ending stocks, at 22.8 million barrels, fell 3 percent from the previous week and were 4 percent higher than a year ago.
Ethanol pricing (Iowa average) vs. spot gasoline
Source: EIA, USDA
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