U.S. ethanol output rises; stocks down 1.1 percent
* Ethanol output up 2,000 bpd to 819,000 bpd last week * Stocks of ethanol drop 1.1 pct Aug 15 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol production rose slightly last week, the third consecutive week of climbing output in a market pinched by high corn prices and squeezed profits. Government data released on Wednesday showed production of U.S. ethanol had risen to 819,000 barrels per day for the week ended on Aug. 10 from 817,000 bpd the prior week. Stockpiles, meanwhile, shrank 1.1 percent to 18.4 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Margins have been depressed as corn prices have spiked, but strong demand for distillers dried grain, an ethanol byproduct sold as a livestock feed, helped strengthen profit margins briefly. Corn prices have climbed as a result of severe drought conditions that have slashed production potential this season. Calls mounted for the Environmental Protection Agency to adjust the Renewable Fuels Standard, or RFS, requiring fuel blenders to mix 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline this year. The governors of North Carolina, Arkansas, Maryland and Delaware have formally requested a waiver. The mandate rises steadily until peaking at 15 billion gallons per year in 2015 and holding at that level through 2022. Some 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is now used to make ethanol, although some byproducts of the process are fed to livestock.
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