Ethanol gained against gasoline after production of the biofuel tumbled to the lowest level in more than three months.
The spread, or price difference, tightened 6.58 cents to 77.76 cents a gallon, based on September contracts for the motor fuel and additive. The most recent Energy Information Administration report showed output plunged a third week in the period ended July 26 to the least since April 12.
“Production is off more than 5 percent from the month’s highs,” said Jerrod Kitt, an analyst at Linn Group in Chicago. “There’s a concern about production.”
Denatured ethanol for September delivery increased 1.9 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.204 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. The August contract, which expires Aug. 5, advanced 1.1 cents to $2.30.
Gasoline for September delivery decreased 4.68 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.9816 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract covers reformulated gasoline, made to be blended with ethanol before delivery to filling stations.
Ethanol-blended gasoline made up about 91 percent of the total U.S. gasoline pool last week, the lowest level since May 31, according to data from the EIA, the Energy Department’s research arm.
Kitt said ethanol’s discount to gasoline will lift demand from refiners looking to pocket the difference between the two.
Ethanol, made from corn in the U.S., is blended with gasoline as part of U.S. plans to reduce dependence on foreign sources of crude oil.
Compliance with the law is tracked by Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, which are attached to each gallon of biofuel and that can be traded among refiners.
Corn for September delivery slumped 2.25 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $4.8525 a bushel in Chicago. The more-actively traded December contract added 1.75 cents to $4.6875.
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 44 cents, up from 42 cents yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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