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Hurricane Florence brings little volatility for US ethanol markets

Houston — Ethanol markets along the US Atlantic Coast are seeing limited support from the looming arrival of Hurricane Florence later this week.

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Delivered rail cars to Richmond, Virginia, were trading at a 12 cents/gal premium to the benchmark Chicago market Tuesday morning, according to one source.

Though slightly higher, values in central and coastal Virginia have seen the same pressure as the rest of the US market due to high inventories and production rates in recent weeks.

S&P Global Platts assessed the benchmark Argo market at $1.2880/gal Monday, down from $1.2905/gal on Friday. Argo reached a seven-month low of $1.2405/gal at the end of August.

The truck market in Charleston, South Carolina, also saw some higher bids against no offers.

"I think a lot of those trucks markets go direct," said a second source.

High inventory rates around the US have kept supply available near the areas likely to be affected by the storm, which has made for little volatility.

The hurricane will also likely be a damper on driving demand, which would lower demand for ethanol.

Ethanol markets in the Carolinas and Virginia are typically isolated from the rest of the US market, said the first source, but that isolation has not translated to increased liquidity ahead of the storm's landfall.

Rather, states in Florence's path have accessible supplies of ethanol and are facing lower demand in the storm's wake.

Florence was a Category 4 hurricane located south of Bermuda Tuesday morning, according to the US National Hurricane Center, and is expected to make landfall in North Carolina Friday. -- Joshua Pedrick, joshua.pedrick@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com