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Ethanol Slides to Six-Week Low on U.S. Budget, European Debt

Ethanol futures slid to a six-week low in Chicago on speculation that U.S. lawmakers will fail to agree on a plan to reduce the deficit and amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will spread.

Futures followed crude oil and corn lower. A 12-member congressional debt-reduction committee is expected to announce that it can’t reach agreement on cutting at least $1.2 trillion. Germany’s finance minister said the country’s expansion has become “noticeably slower.”

“It was just a big off-day across the board, so it’s not surprising” that ethanol would fall,” said Justin Dirico, senior ethanol trader at SCB & Associates in Chicago.

Denatured ethanol for December delivery retreated 5.6 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $2.544 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest price since Oct. 10. The futures have increased 7 percent this year.

Crude oil for January delivery fell 75 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $96.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 9. The price ranged from $95.24 to $97.86. Futures are up 6.1 percent this year.

Corn for March delivery dropped 13 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $6.05 a bushel in Chicago. One bushel makes at least 2.75 gallons of the biofuel.

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