Ethanol Market and Pricing Data – May 17, 2023

Ethanol, Fuels and Co-Product Pricing

Market Outlook: U.S. ethanol prices ended last week 0.4 percent higher and continued that strength in early week trading and rose 0.8 percent through Tuesday’s close. Midwest wholesale rack ethanol prices were lower to end last week but were up 1.2 percent through Tuesday’s market close to their last quote of 67.53 cents/liter (255.61 cents/gallon).

FOB Houston ethanol prices finished last week 1.2 percent lower but are up 1 percent through Tuesday’s trading from Friday’s close. FOB Houston ethanol prices are quoted at 66.51 cents/liter (251.76 cents/gallon). FOB Santos, Brazil anhydrous ethanol prices were lower last week; they are down in early week trading, falling 2.2 percent to 64.26 cents/liter (243.25 cents/gallon) through Tuesday’s trading.

The FOB Gulf-Santos, Brazil ethanol spread has widened from last week’s close through Tuesday’s trading and is currently at 2.25 cents/liter (8.51 cents/gallon).

MTBE prices fell 3.3 percent last week but pared those losses in early week trading to gain 0.8 percent from Friday’s close through Tuesday’s trading. MTBE’s premium to FOB Houston ethanol has decreased from last week’s report and stands at -1.37 cents/liter (-5.18 cents/gallon).

BTX component prices were sharply lower last week and were weaker still through Tuesday’s market close: Benzene was down 1.6 percent while Toluene was down 0.6 percent, and Xylene was down 0.6 percent. The estimated weighted average aromatic price is currently 94.12 cents/liter (356.29 cents/gallon), down from last Friday’s close. The BTX-Houston ethanol spread narrowed last week, and the weighted average BTX price is 27.61 cents/liter (104.53 cents/gallon) higher than the FOB Houston ethanol price.

Gasoline and petroleum products were mostly higher last week and are still rising in early week trade. RBOB futures are up 2.2 percent to start the week while 84 octane RBOB (Houston) and 87 octane CBOB (U.S. Gulf) gasoline prices are up 2.2 and up 2.2 percent, respectively. WTI futures are 0.8 percent higher at $70.61/barrel while Brent futures are up 1 percent to $74.91/barrel, from Friday through Tuesday’s close.

Liquid tanker rates are 3 percent lower on average this week with offers for Brazil to India seeing the largest gains (up 3 percent). Freight from the U.S. Gulf to Brazil saw the largest declines and is down 8 percent from last week. On average, tanker freight from the U.S. Gulf is down 4 percent this week while freight from the PNW has posted a 1 percent decline. Liquid tanker freight rates from Brazil are down 2 percent, on average, this week. Freight rates across all origins are 13 percent lower than this same week in 2022.

On a cost-and-freight (C&F) basis, offers are mixed this week with U.S. Gulf offers trading higher as gains in FOB ethanol prices offset lower freight rates. Conversely, C&F values from the U.S. PNW and Brazil are lower as both freight and FOB prices have fallen for these origins. Prices for ethanol C&F to Central America from the U.S. Gulf are up 0.4 percent this week and are down 12.7 percent from this same week in 2022. Values for PNW ethanol to Southeast Asia average $907.56/MT this week, down 2.1 percent from the prior week but down 15.7 percent year-over-year. That compares to U.S. Gulf to Southeast Asia C&F prices that average $960.36/MT and are up 0.3 percent from last week but are down 11.3 percent year-over-year. C&F prices for Brazilian ethanol to Southeast Asia are down 2.4 percent from last week.