Ethanol’s discount to gasoline expanded to the widest in more than three months as prices for the motor fuel rallied and on speculation improving returns to make the additive will boost supply.
The spread, or price difference, swelled 12.05 cents to 67.29 cents a gallon at 12:35 p.m. New York time as gasoline futures jumped on concern unplanned refinery outages will curtail production. Seasonally above-average ethanol prices are attracting higher returns for the biofuel and attracting imports.
“The significance is that you’re weaker, but you’re stronger relative to corn,” said Jerrod Kitt, an analyst at Linn Group in Chicago. “The market trying to find a balance between a bullish spot situation and the potential for a build-out over the next six months.”
Denatured ethanol for August delivery fell 1.1 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.458 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices have gained 12 percent this year.
Gasoline for August delivery climbed 10.95 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $3.1309 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract covers reformulated gasoline, made to be blended with ethanol before delivery to filling stations.
Production of ethanol, made mostly from corn in the U.S., climbed 2.1 percent to 881,000 barrels last week from the previous week, a July 10 report from the Energy Information Administration showed.
Corn for September delivery fell 10.25 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $5.505 a bushel in Chicago. One bushel makes at least 2.75 gallons of the renewable fuel.
The corn crush spread, or the cost difference between a gallon of ethanol and the corn needed to make it, based on September contracts for the grain and biofuel, was 31 cents, compared with 28 cents yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Ethanol imports have averaged 19,000 barrels a day through July 5, according to data from the Energy Department’s research arm, up from 8,000 barrels a day a year earlier.
Anhydrous ethanol in Sao Paulo cost $2.22 a gallon as of July 5, the lowest price since Nov. 9, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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