Commodities: Supply concerns ease, ethanol prices tumble

By Rick Kment, DTN | April 28, 2014

April has provided a wild and volatile ride for ethanol markets. Prices moved sharply lower due to supply concerns easing across the country. Those issues had little to do with overall corn availability or plant capacity. Adverse weather through many areas of the country slowed or delayed train traffic. Since most ethanol moves from Midwest production areas to the coasts by train, this limited the amount of ethanol available for blenders to use. Ethanol plants were also affected as they had to throttle back production as they had no place to store additional ethanol. But as winter weather eased, transportation delays slowly worked themselves out and supplies and production levels began to rebuild quickly.

As a more normal state returned, ethanol futures posted aggressive losses through the month, falling more than $1.30 per gallon in futures and over $2 per gallon at several terminals. Market volatility seems to have slowed heading into the high demand summer driving season, but additional ripples likely will be seen in the next several weeks due to increasing demand for gasoline and ethanol.

Gasoline Prices (By Region)

REGION

SPOT

RACK

West Coast

$3.1647

$3.3423

Midwest   

$3.1072

$3.6390

East Coast

$2.9197

$3.1819

Front Month Futures Price (RBOB) $3.0547

 

Ethanol Prices (By Region)

REGION

SPOT

RACK

West Coast

$2.8750

$3.5393

Midwest   

$2.4900

$3.0015

East Coast

$2.3500

$2.7490

Front Month Futures Price (AC) $2.192