At one time, the ethanol industry appeared to have put the COVID-19 lull in the rearview mirror. Sky-high output and profit margins matched up. However, Reuters says demand is dropping while oil prices rise, which is leading to a record level of ethanol stocks. America’s ethanol stocks reached the lowest point in five years in December. However, stocks jumped more than 18 percent in the last four weeks, the biggest jump in records going back to 2010. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data says stocks hit 24.48 million barrels last week. The only time stocks were higher occurred between February and May of 2020. Output levels have been relatively normal since November after almost reaching all-time highs in October. But profit margins have been slashed dramatically in the last two months. Corn processing margins hit $1.80 per gallon in November, the strongest level since 2014. But last week, the margins were a few cents above zero.
U.S. Ethanol Stocks Rising as Demand Sags