Stronger export numbers and lower acreage boosted corn prices since the end of June. Concerns about demand weakness in ethanol production emerged recently. A recovery in economic activity helped ethanol plants ramp up production as gasoline demand increased. A resurgence in virus incidences threatens ethanol production over the short run and injects uncertainty into long-run prospects.
Gasoline demand recovered to almost 89 percent of pre-coronavirus lockdown levels in early July. Despite this positive development, the recovery in demand flattened out over the last few weeks. Gasoline stocks began to recede but still sit substantially above levels seen at this time of the year. Attempts to reopen the economy hit a snag as the virus spread rapidly around the country after initial hopes saw a rapid opening in many areas. At 8.648 million barrels per day, demand recovered substantially from the low point of 5.311 million barrels per day seen in early April. The path back to normal gasoline demand levels appears stalled. Ethanol production followed this recovery and will feel the implications of flattening gasoline use. Continue reading