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Ethanol Little Changed Amid Ample Supply, Higher Corn Prices

Ethanol futures were little changed in Chicago on signs of ample supply and as corn gained amid economic optimism.

Futures snapped a two-day winning streak after the Energy Department reported output climbed to the highest level since Dec. 10 and production of conventional gasoline blended with ethanol sank the most in more than six months. The biofuel averaged a 3.6-cent premium to gasoline in November, versus a 22.14-cent discount over the past year.

“You get ethanol trading at a premium to gasoline like that, that’s a dog that’s not going to hunt,” said Mike Blackford, a consultant at INTL FCStone in Des Moines, Iowa.

Denatured ethanol for December delivery fell 0.1 cent to $2.484 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. The futures fell 9.9 percent in November and have climbed 4.5 percent this year. The discount to gasoline ended the month at 8.37 cents.

In cash market trading, ethanol was unchanged in Chicago at $2.775 a gallon and in the U.S. Gulf at $2.925, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ethanol in New York dropped 10 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $2.825 a gallon and on the West Coast the additive plunged 6.5 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $2.885.

Output of the biofuel jumped 1.4 percent last week to 930,000 barrels a day, the Energy Department report showed.

Production of conventional gasoline blended with ethanol plunged 3.7 percent to 4.94 million barrels a day, the biggest drop and lowest amount since May 6. Refiners get a 45-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol blended into the motor fuel.

Corn for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to $6.08 a bushel in Chicago. The grain is the primary input for making ethanol in the U.S.

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