EIA: Ethanol Stocks Build, Output Up

NEW YORK (DTN) -- The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday U.S. ethanol stocks increased last week from a nine-week low and domestic plant production unexpectedly rose while blending demand tumbled to a near four-month low.

EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed domestic fuel ethanol inventories jumped 600,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.8%, to 20.6 million bbl during the week-ended Sept. 23 that boosted a year-over-year surplus to 1.8 million bbl or 9.6%.

Most of the stock increase occurred along PADD 1 East Coast, where stocks rose 400,000 bbl to 7.4 million bbl. PADD 2 Midwest stocks increased 200,000 bbl to 6.3 million bbl and PADD 3 Gulf Coast stocks added 100,000 bbl to 3.9 million bbl. PADD 5 West Coast fell 100,000 bbl to 2.6 million bbl.

Plant production climbed 8,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 0.8%, to 989,000 bpd last week, while up 46,000 bpd, or 4.9%, versus a year earlier. Trade sources expected output to fall due to autumn maintenance. For the four weeks ended Sept. 23, domestic ethanol production averaged 993,000 bpd, 43,000 bpd or 4.5% above the comparable year-ago period.

Net refiner and blender inputs of ethanol, a measure for demand, eased for the third straight week last week, falling 13,000 bpd, or 1.4%, to 907,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 23, the lowest blending rate since June 3 when inputs averaged 904,000 bpd.

Year over year, refiner and blender inputs are up 26,000 bpd or 3.0%. The four-week average blender input rate through Sept. 23 is up 34,000 bpd or 3.8% year-over-year at 921,000 bpd.