Ethanol Production in U.S. Rises to Three-Week High, EIA Says

Ethanol production in the U.S. rose 1.9 percent to 789,000 barrels a day last week, the Energy Information Administration said today.

Output climbed the most in five weeks and to the highest level since Jan. 18, data from the Energy Department’s statistical agency showed. Stockpiles plunged 3 percent to 19.5 million barrels, the lowest level since Nov. 30 and the steepest decline in 11 weeks.

At least 19 ethanol plants have been idled since June as drought in the corn-rich Midwest slashed yields and raised costs to produce the biofuel, according to data from the Renewable Fuels Association, a Washington-based trade group.

Imports climbed to 11,000 barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 8 from none the prior period and none a year ago, the EIA reported. Ethanol-blended gasoline made up 89 percent of the total U.S. gasoline pool, little changed from the previous week.

Denatured ethanol for March delivery declined 1.5 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.372 a gallon at 11:08 a.m. New York time on the Chicago Board of Trade. The futures have advanced 8.3 percent this year and are up 6.1 percent from a year earlier.

Production has risen 2.5 percent from a record low 770,000 barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 25 and has fallen 15 percent from a year earlier, EIA data show.

Stockpiles have declined 9.3 percent from a year earlier and are below average for this time of year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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