Ethanol Outlook September 2017

Ethanol prices remained relatively unchanged over the past month, as increasing production in the U.S. and Brazil kept a tab on demand-induced upward price pressures. The spot price registered on 8 September was USD 1.64 per gallon. The price was 0.6% higher than on the same day last month, and was down 6.3% on a year-to-date basis. However, it was 6.5% higher than on the same day last year. The price of oil, a substitute for ethanol, has remained relatively unchanged over the past month, contributing to ethanol’s low monthly price variation. In the U.S., a court on 28 July ruled against the Trump administration’s efforts to curb biofuel use, which will likely support ethanol prices going forward on the back of more predictable U.S. domestic demand. In Brazil, RenovaBio—a federal program designed to cut emissions—is expected to be announced soon, which should boost future ethanol demand. On the supply side, the Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade approved a two-year twenty-percent tariff on U.S. ethanol imports on 23 August, benefiting Brazilian producers. Prices are expected to remain at a stable level this year, as increased production should be countered by slightly higher global demand. Prices are expected to average USD 1.57 per gallon in Q4 2017 and USD 1.68 per gallon in Q4 2018. From Focus Economics.

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