CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- U.S. ethanol supply increased to a five-week high as blending activity fell to the second-lowest weekly rate of 2019 while domestic plant owners ramped output up for a tenth consecutive week through Dec. 6, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Ethanol inventory increased 1.2 million barrels (bbl), or 5.8%, to 21.8 million bbl during the week reviewed, although is down 1.1 million bbl, or 4.8%, against year ago. All PAD districts registered a weekly increase except PADD 4, with PADD 1 East Coast supply up 500,000 bbl, or 7.7%, to 7 million bbl, flat year on year.
PADD 2 Midwest inventory built by 300,000 bbl, or 4.4%, to 7.1 million bbl, with stocks down 700,000 bbl, or 9%, against year ago. PADD 3 Gulf Coast supply increased 100,000 bbl to 4.1 million bbl, while 300,000 bbl, or 6.8%, less than year prior. PADD 5 West Coast ethanol supply increased 300,000 bbl, or 10.3%, to 3.2 million bbl, 100,000 bbl below a year ago.
The supply increase was partly realized by a steep drop in blending demand, with refiner and blender net input tumbling 44,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 4.9%, to 858,000 bpd, the lowest weekly rate of blending activity since the first week of 2019. Against a year ago, weekly blending activity is down 52,000 bpd, or 5.7%. For the four weeks ended Dec. 6, blending demand averaged 905,000 bpd, down 10,000 bpd against the comparable year-ago period.
Ethanol plant production increased 12,000 bpd to 1.072 million bpd during the first week of December, a 23-week high, and 26,000 bpd, or 2.5%, above a year ago. During the four weeks ended Dec. 6, ethanol plant output averaged 1.056 million bpd compared with a 1.051-million-bpd production rate during the corresponding period in 2018.
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