US ethanol production falls, stockpiles tumble from 11-month high

1 Mar 2023 | Mark Shenk

US ethanol production fell by 26,000 barrels per day (b/d) in the week ending February 24, while stockpiles dropped from an 11-month high, data published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed Wednesday.

Total ethanol production across the US decreased to 1.003 million b/d in the reporting week, down from 1.029 b/d a week earlier.

The weekly decline was unexpected by analysts, who projected a move in a 5,000-barrel increase-to- 5,000-decrease range.

Total ethanol production in the Midwest – home to over 90% of total US ethanol production capacity – dropped by 26,000 b/d to 958,000 b/d, according to the EIA.

Over the week, full production equated to the consumption of 2.58 million mt of corn, down from 2.65 million mt a week earlier.

Meanwhile, ethanol stockpiles tumbled by 800,000 barrels to 24.8 million barrels in the period covered by the report, down from 25.6 which is the highest level since the week ended April 1, 2022.

The stockpile decrease was unexpected by analysts surveyed before the report, who had called for a gain of between 100,000 to 200,000 barrels.

Margins calculated through a model from Iowa State University showed that the estimated return over operating costs for the average Midwest-based plant rose in the week ending February 24 to $0.27/gallon, up from $0.14/gallon a week earlier.

Corn prices for the week meanwhile tumbled by around $0.28 during the week to an average of $6.57/bu.

Finished ethanol prices rose to $2.09 in the week ending February 24, up from $2.03 a week earlier.