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Lower ethanol prices in Brazil improving parity at pumps

Montreal — The March 19-25 price of hydrous ethanol at pumps in the southeast of Brazil averaged 71.7% of gasoline prices, compared with 72.5% the week before and 75.1% a month ago, National Petroleum Agency (ANP) data showed Tuesday.

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At this level, hydrous ethanol is still not competitive with gasoline because it remains above the 70% threshold.

Hydrous fuel ethanol is used in Brazil as a standalone biofuel (E100) by flex-fuel vehicles. To be more competitive than gasoline in Brazil, E100 has to be below 70% of the price of gasoline.

Hydrous prices have declined over the past weeks due to lower demand at the pump. S&P Global Platts assessed hydrous ex-mill Ribeirao Preto at Real 1,860/cu m Tuesday, down Real 40/cu m from a week ago, according to Platts data.

Fuel hydrous consumption in March in the Center-South is expected to reach just over 900 million liters, while in April it is expected to reach 1.1 billion liters, according to Kingsman, the agricultural unit of Platts.

In February, demand was expected to have reached roughly 800 million liters. The National Petroleum Agency is expected to release February's consumption data this week.

--Beatriz Pupo,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,