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U.S. Ethanol Production Rises to 2-Week High as Corn Costs Ease

Ethanol production in the U.S. rose 2.5 percent to 853,000 barrels a day, the highest in two weeks, as distillers resumed operations after corn costs eased.

Stockpiles increased 0.5 percent to 17.6 million barrels in the week ended April 19, led by gains in the U.S. Gulf Coast, a report from the Energy Information Administration showed today. Total inventories were down 19 percent from a year earlier.

Ethanol companies including Valero Energy Corp., Abengoa SA, and Poet LLC, have resumed output at mills that were temporarily idled after drought in the Midwest boosted corn prices and wiped out profits to make the fuel. Corn has dropped 8.1 percent this year.

Denatured ethanol for May delivery slumped 1.8 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.412 a gallon at 10:56 a.m. New York time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices have gained 10 percent this year.

Ethanol-blended gasoline made up about 93 percent of the total U.S. gasoline pool, the lowest level since March 29 and down from 94 percent the previous week, the Energy Department’s analytical arm said.

The U.S. made foreign purchases of the fuel for the first time since March 29. Imports averaged 39,000 barrels a day in the week ended April 19, up from 11,000 barrels a day a year earlier, EIA said.

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