By Rick Kment, from <Ethanol Producer Magazine>
Aug. 2—Ethanol prices have followed corn futures step by step this spring and summer. In July, ethanol prices jumped 15 cents per gallon as corn prices increased nearly 60 cents per bushel. At the moment, grain markets are on another sharp rally with corn prices jumping 30 cents per bushel over the past three trading sessions. Although this may be temporary in a market hit by uncertain planting levels, weather, as well as global production problems, has traders actively looking for renewed investor interest. Accordingly, ethanol futures are making very few directional moves on their own account due to the tight connection between ethanol production costs and corn prices. This trend is likely to continue over the next several weeks and or months, as the market may become much more volatile before calm returns.
At the same time ethanol prices rallied, gasoline markets slipped lower as the summer driving season waned. This will likely continue to limit additional commercial and noncommercial buying activity into the gasoline markets due to expected demand slumps through the end of the year. The soft economy is not helping matters, with jobless rates still double digit, and consumers weary of hoping that the end of hard times is just around the corner. RBOB gasoline prices have fallen 6 cents since the end of June and are currently contained in a moderate trading range.