Monday, April 5, 2010

Ethanol: "Ethanol's Discount To Gasoline Could Pressure Refiners" (PEIX; VLO)

Six days ago I did my first ethanol post (excluding the St. Patrick's Day biochemistry of hangovers, etc.) in over a year "Pacific Ethanol announces bankruptcy reorganization plan" (PEIX)":
...It may be time to start paying attention to the group again.
If I could just remember their names....
The stock closed that day at $1.11. This morning the stock is changing hands at $1.53.

From Dow Jones via Downstream today:

Corn-ethanol futures are trading at their biggest discount to gasoline futures since the summer of 2008, which could encourage more biofuel blending and pressure the margins of oil refiners.

Over the past several weeks, gasoline prices have surged during the usual seasonal rally ahead of the peak summer driving season. Meanwhile, ethanol prices have been dragged lower by rising output of the biofuel and a drop in corn prices amid ample supplies and a drop in demand for animal feed.

Attractive ethanol prices could push fuel retailers, the middlemen who deliver fuel and even some refiners to blend more of the biofuel, which would damp the recovery in gasoline demand that is crawling back from depressed levels. Refiners are required to blend a certain amount of ethanol into their gasoline or buy credits to meet the mandate.

"One should put as much ethanol as possible into the gasoline pool because ethanol is at a very strong discount to gasoline and corn is relatively weak," said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Swiss consultancy Petromatrix....MORE