Ethanol Outlook for 2015

There is good news for international buyers of U.S. ethanol. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects ethanol production to average 938,000 billion barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2015 (up from 933,000 bbl/d in 2014).

Likewise, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects a 75 million bushel (1.9 million ton) increase in corn for ethanol production compared to previous estimates for 2015. With this level of production, the availability of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other co-products is favorable for those importing it for use in livestock feeding.

The price of crude oil in the United States has dropped in recent months due to a combination of supply growth and weaker global demand, though the full impact of lower crude oil prices on the ethanol market is yet to be seen. Although refiners usually pay less for ethanol when crude oil prices drop, the relatively low price and strong supply of corn should allow U.S. ethanol makers to operate with positive margins in 2015. Profit from previous years will carry over to sustain their production.

Furthermore, storage from previous year’s ethanol production is at a two year high and will allow the United States to meet the demand of ethanol in the world marketplace.