Ethanol Output at 6-Month Low

NEW YORK (DTN) -- Domestic fuel ethanol inventories plunged last week from a record high while plant production dropped to a six-month low and blending demand fell from a three-month high, the latest report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week-ended April 7 showed fuel ethanol inventories declined by roughly 800,000 barrels (bbl), or 3.4%, to 22.9 million bbl. Ethanol inventory was 600,000 bbl, or 2.6%, above stocks for the corresponding week in 2016.

Regionally, a 400,000 bbl stock drop in PADD 3 Gulf Coast was partially offset by a 200,000 bbl increase in PADD 5 West Coast. PADD 2 Midwest is where most of the stock draw occurred, down 500,000 bbl to 7.9 million bbl last week, the data shows.

Midwest stocks are now at the lowest level since the week-ended Feb. 20, having dropped in the past two weeks from a record high of 8.6 million bbl posted on March 24. Gulf Coast stocks fell 100,000 bbl to 8.1 million bbl last week, down from an 11-month high posted the prior week.

Domestic plant production fell 33,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 3.1%, to 986,000 bpd last week, the lowest since the week-ended Sept. 30. Plant production is still up 48,000 bpd, or 5.1%, year-over-year. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.026 million bpd, up 51,000 bpd, or 5.2%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, fell by 10,000 bpd, or 1.1%, to 908,000 bpd during the week-ended April 7, down from a three-month high posted a week prior. On a year-over-year basis, refiner and blender inputs were flat, up 1,000 bpd last week. For the four-week period ended April 7, blending demand was up 22,000 bpd, or 2.47%.

(BM/AG)