Corn Use for Ethanol
Jan 31, 2013
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Greetings from the Top Producer Seminar!
Another low volume trade day in the grains while we wait to see how much rain falls on South America and their prospects for the next two weeks. While we wait I figured I might touch on a subject that I personally have heard little about - Corn Usage for Ethanol. In recent years ethanol production has become a bigger and bigger factor in the corn balance sheet. We have talked a lot the past few months about corn exports lagging behind at a time of year where we should be seeing big sales, but ethanol thus far has sort of been flying under the radar.
The USDA is currently projecting corn use for ethanol production at 4.5 billion bushels. This crop year's usage through the first 21 weeks has been just under 1.79 billion bushels. This works out to 85.13 million bushels a week on average compared to the 87.09 million bushels per week on average needed to hit the USDA estimate. So corn usage for ethanol is consistently falling 1-2 million acres below the USDA estimate. This could mean that if ethanol production does not ramp up there could be 50-100 million bushels going back into the balance sheet.
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Profit margins for ethanol plants in Iowa are running at a loss of 30 cents a bushel. This is actually an improvement over the previous 5 weeks when profit margins were well over negative 50 cents a bushel. Yes, there is an ethanol mandate so we can not completely shut down all together, but with ethanol stocks still running 2% over last year there is little to no incentive to increase production at the moment. This climate could easily change buy a rally in crude oil driving ethanol prices higher or a drop in corn prices lowering input costs, or both. However, for now it looks like the USDA could be over estimating corn demand for ethanol.
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March Corn Daily chart:
March Soybeans Daily chart:
March Wheat Daily chart:
All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices while we have corn near $7.00 and soybeans near $14.00. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.
In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!
Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Futures, options and forex trading is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss. This commentary should be conveyed as a solicitation for entry into derivitives transactions. All known news and events have already been factored into the price of the underlying commodities discussed. The limited risk characteristic of options refers to long options only; and refers to the amount of the loss, which is defined as premium paid on the option(s) plus commissions.
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