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U.S. ethanol output to drop, analyst says

10/23/2012 @ 7:36am

U.S. production of ethanol is expected to decline by 5.7% this year because of a tighter supply of and higher prices for corn, the basic raw material, a bioenergy analyst said Tuesday.

The worst drought to hit the U.S. Midwest in decades sent corn prices to a record high this year. Near-month corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade hit an all-time high of $8.4375/bushel on Aug. 10 and government has forecast almost trebling of imports.

Many ethanol plants have been idled or shut down for maintenance, Anselm Eisentraut, a bioenergy analyst at the International Energy Agency, said on the sidelines of the Asia Future Energy Forum.

U.S. ethanol output this year is likely to average around 855,000 barrels a day, down from 907,000 barrels a day in 2011, Mr. Eisentraut said.

The U.S. is world's largest ethanol producer, accounting for nearly 60% of global output.

Production may improve to 888,000 barrels a day next year if corn output increases, he said.

U.S. corn output in the marketing year that started Sept. 1 is forecast to fall 13% to 272 million tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Around 40%-42% of U.S. corn output is used to make ethanol and its byproducts.


Write to Sameer C. Mohindru at sameer.mohindru@dowjones.com
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October 23, 2012 07:32 ET (11:32 GMT)
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