CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- Ethanol inventory in the United States was drawn down for the fifth consecutive week through May 22, falling 400,000 barrels (bbl) to a 23.2-million-bbl 19-week low, according to the Energy Information Administration, with supply 4.489 million bbl or 16.2% below a record high reached on April 17.
The decline was realized with a 32,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) increase in refiner and blender net inputs during the week to a 712,000-bpd nine-week high, although down from a 948,000 blend rate the year prior. During the four weeks ended May 22, blending demand averaged 663,000 bpd, 280,000 bpd or 29.7% below the comparable year prior period.
Plant production outpaced the gain in blending activity for the week, up 61,000 bpd to a 724,000-bpd eight-week high, the fourth consecutive week with higher output after falling to a more-than-10-year low at 537,000 bpd. During the four-week period ended May 22, plant production averaged 651,000 bpd, 403,000 bpd or 38.2% below year ago.
The increase in output pushed the production rate slightly above the blend rate, potentially slowing the drawdown in ethanol stockpiles.
On a regional basis, East Coast PADD 1 ethanol stocks declined 100,000 bbl to 7.9 million bbl and were drawn down 200,000 bbl in both the Gulf Coast PADD 3 and West Coast PADD 5 to 5.2 million bbl and 2.4 million bbl, respectively. Midwest PADD 2 inventory was unchanged at 7.3 million bbl on the week, 700,000 bbl below a year ago. PADD 5 inventory matches a year ago, while 600,000 bbl above a year ago in PADD 1 and 700,000 bbl more than the year prior in PADD 3.
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