U.S. ethanol output falls to 10-month low
* Ethanol output falls 26,000 bpd to 857,000 bpd * Stocks fall 464,000 to 20.29 mln bbls By Michael Hirtzer July 5 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol production dropped to the lowest level in 10 months as biofuel refineries idled or slowed operations amid surging corn prices and poor profit margins, government data released on Thursday showed. Production of U.S. ethanol plunged 3 percent, or 26,000 barrels per day, to 857,000 bpd in the week ending June 29, the Energy Information Administration said. The ethanol grind was the slowest since September while stocks of the fuel fell 464,000 barrels to 20.29 million barrels. Valero Energy Corp in June announced that it was idling three plants in Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska with a total capacity of 310 million gallons per year, while Nedak Ethanol LLC temporarily shut down its 44 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Atkinson, Nebraska. Profits have been squeezed at the plants by rising corn prices and seasonally tight supplies corn, the main feedstock used in ethanol production. Corn futures have increased 35 percent since early June at the Chicago Board of Trade as record-high heat and severe drought conditions stress the developing crop.
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