Ethanol Advances as Corn Gains on Flooding Fears

Ethanol futures advanced for a second day in Chicago last Friday on concern that Midwest flooding will hurt the corn crop and raise production costs for the fuel.

The grain-based gasoline additive followed its primary feedstock higher after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration yesterday forecast an above-average risk of flooding for parts of the corn-rich U.S. Midwest.

“It was a crazy ride today,” said Don Salfi, a trader at BiofuelsConnect, a Heathrow, Florida-based alternative energy broker. “It followed the corn. Everybody started slinging.”

Denatured ethanol for April delivery surged 8.2 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $2.485 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures are up 57 percent in the past year.

In cash market trading, ethanol in Chicago soared 11.5 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $2.49 a gallon and on the West Coast the additive gained 10 cents, or 4 percent, to $2.59, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ethanol in New York added 9.5 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $2.59 a gallon and in the U.S. Gulf, the fuel rose 6 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $2.615.

Corn for May delivery jumped 37 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $6.835 a bushel in Chicago. One bushel makes about 2.75 gallons of ethanol.

An average ethanol mill in Iowa is losing 8 cents on every gallon produced, while a plant in Illinois is pocketing about 13 cents, according to Ag Trader Talk.

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