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Ethanol Prices Rally as Summer Driving Season Nears Despite Freight Cost Concerns
Ethanol Prices Rally as Summer Driving Season Nears Despite Freight Cost Concerns

Ethanol Prices Rally as Summer Driving Season Nears Despite Freight Cost Concerns

  • 01-May-2024 4:06 PM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

Texas (USA): During the week ending April 26th, there was a significant uptick in U.S. Ethanol prices, rising by 2.5%. This increase was particularly evident in Midwest wholesale rack Ethanol prices, which peaked at 183.99 cents/gallon after a brief period of decline. Similarly, FOB Houston prices saw a rise of 2.3%, reaching 180.04 cents/gallon. However, FOB Santos, Brazil, experienced a slight decrease of 0.5%, resulting in anhydrous Ethanol prices dropping to 216.4 cents/gallon.

The Ethanol market dynamics are influenced by a myriad of factors. As the summer driving season approaches in the U.S., the demand for Ethanol-blended gasoline is expected to increase, potentially exerting upward demand pressure on prices. Concurrently, industrial applications in solvents, pharmaceuticals, and chemical feedstocks continue to drive demand.

Export trends play a significant role in shaping Ethanol markets. An increase in exports to regions such as Europe and South Korea could tighten domestic supply, thereby impacting prices domestically. Conversely, factors affecting Ethanol supply include corn prices and production disruptions. Ethanol production costs are directly influenced by fluctuations in corn prices, which stood at 5.4 billion bushels for its production. Unplanned shutdowns or maintenance activities at Ethanol production facilities also disrupt supply, leading to short-term price hikes.

Freight costs, including falling container rates and disruptions like the Port of Baltimore bridge collapse, highlight the importance of efficient transportation networks in maintaining supply chains. However, during this week on the route from North America East Coast to North Europe, freight costs have risen by 13.4% after seeing stability for the past four weeks. This increase will definitely affect the prices of Ethanol in the coming month.

Recent USDA reports contribute to market sentiment. Projections indicate a tightening in corn supply, with increased usage for Ethanol production and feed. Conversely, soybean forecasts suggest higher ending stocks but lower exports and imports. In terms of recent data, U.S. fuel Ethanol production witnessed a slight decline during the week ending April 19th. Production averaged 954,000 barrels per day, down from 983,000 barrels per day reported the previous week and the lowest level since mid-January. Weekly ending stocks of fuel Ethanol also decreased to 25.733 million barrels, down from 26.08 million barrels reported the previous week.

In the foreseeable future, the Ethanol market encounters both prospects and obstacles.The impending summer driving season in the U.S. presents potential upside for Ethanol prices due to increased travel and demand for Ethanol-blended gasoline. However, challenges such as supply disruptions, fluctuating input costs, and global trade dynamics remain key considerations. Despite short-term uncertainties, the long-term prospects for Ethanol remain promising, driven by its crucial role in both energy and industrial sectors.

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