Stronger hydrous fuel ethanol prices for consumers translated into a less competitive position in the southeast Brazilian market compared with gasoline in the week that ended Sunday, the latest data from the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) show.
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Southeast region hydrous fuel ethanol prices averaged 61.5% of the price of gasoline, up from 61.3% in the previous week, the data show.
The fuel's price parity against gasoline deteriorated for the first time in the past 24 weeks.
Hydrous fuel ethanol is used in Brazil as a standalone biofuel (E100) for flex-fuel vehicles. To be more competitive than gasoline in Brazil, E100 has to be below 70% of the price of gasoline.
ANP data show that hydrous prices at the pump for drivers purchasing the standalone biofuel increased 0.9% compared with the prior week.
Domestic prices for hydrous fuel ethanol in the key Center-South sugarcane region, which includes the southeast region used by the ANP for its price data, have been firmer in recent weeks as the larger, best capitalized producers stayed out of the spot market, opting instead to stockpile product, in the hope of obtaining better prices during the intercrop season when many anticipate prices will have to rise to rein in demand.
Consumption of ethanol during the new Center-South sugarcane harvest season has been strongly shifting toward hydrous, while gasoline sales have been declining.
In June, hydrous fuel demand in the Center-South region reached 1.35 billion liters, up 53% compared with June 2014 and up 4% from May, the latest data from ANP show. Cumulative hydrous consumption in the first half of 2015 was nearly 7.65 billion liters, an increase of 36% year on year.