Ethanol production near one-year high, stocks swell

U.S. ethanol production roared back last week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says production averaged 1.077 million barrels a day, the highest average since late last year and up 59,000 on the week. The jump was due to plants resuming full schedules following the week of Thanksgiving, in addition to the prevention of a railroad strike that would have greatly impacted domestic movement of ethanol. That is down 13,000 on the year with some uncertainties about sustained demand.

Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development says margins have moved into negative territory for many Iowa producers, but remain above the lows for the year.

The Renewable Fuels Association says demand signals are mixed, with net inputs by refiners and blenders falling 4.8% to a 36-week low, while the volume of gasoline supplied to the market was fractionally higher.

In another important indicator of demand, ethanol stocks grew to 23.257 million gallons, the largest supply since August, an increase of 323,000 from the previous week and 2.793 million from last year.

The USDA’s next corn for ethanol use is out Friday.

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