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Ethanol Output in U.S. Caps First Yearly Decline Since 1996

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Ethanol production in the U.S. fell 3.2 percent to 807,000 barrels a day last week, capping the first decline in 16 years as record corn prices crimped profits.

Output averaged 859,000 barrels a day in 2012, or 13.2 billion gallons on an annualized basis, down from 13.8 billion in 2011, according to Bloomberg calculations based on an Energy Department report today. Stockpiles fell to 20.2 million barrels in the seven days ended Dec. 28 from 20.3 million.

Ethanol is made from corn in the U.S. and prices for the grain are at a record for this time of year after a drought scorched crops in the Midwest, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Imports increased to 87,000 barrels a day from 26,000 the previous week, the department said. Ethanol-blended gasoline made up about 87 percent of the total U.S. gasoline pool, down from 89 percent in the week ended Dec. 21 and the lowest since Jan. 6, 2012.

Denatured ethanol for January delivery fell 0.1 cent to $2.178 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. The futures have fallen 2.2 percent in the past year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mario Parker in Chicago at mparker22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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