EIA: Ethanol Stocks at Lowest in Weeks

NEW YORK (DTN) -- Fuel ethanol inventories fell to a near six-week low last week with draw-downs on the East and Gulf coasts where ethanol can be exported, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday. The EIA said blending demand, however, increased to its highest rate since mid-August.

Fuel ethanol inventories declined by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2%, to an 18.7 million bbl three-week low. There was a year-over-year supply deficit of 1.5 million bbl or 7.4% below a year ago, according to the EIA's weekly petroleum status report for the week-ended Dec. 23. Stocks were at a 13-month low of 18.4 million bbl during the week-ended Nov. 25.

Regionally, PADD 1 East Coast stockpiles declined 300,000 bbl to 6.3 million bbl, with PADD 3 Gulf Coast supplies falling 300,000 bbl to 2.9 million bbl. PADD 2 Midwest stockpiles rose 200,000 bbl to 6.6 million bbl.

Plant production decreased for the second straight week, down 8,000 bpd or 0.8% to 1.028 million bpd for the week-ended Dec. 23. That was an increase of 37,000 bpd or 3.7% compared to last year. Ethanol production averaged 1.063 million bpd, up 4,000 bpd or 0.4% for the four weeks ended last week.

Net refiner and blender inputs of ethanol, a gauge for demand, rose 17,000 bpd or 1.85% to 935,000 bpd during the week-ended Dec. 23. It is the highest input rate since the week-ended Aug. 12. Year-over-year, refiner and blender inputs were up 28,000 bpd or 3% from 907,000 bpd. Blending demand was up 26,000 bpd or 3.0% to 905,000 bpd, for the four-week average.