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US ethanol production falls 43,000 b/d on week to 967,000 b/d: EPA

Houston — US ethanol production averaged 967,000 b/d in the week that ended October 6, down 43,000 b/d week on week, according to US Environmental Protection Agency data released Thursday.

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Compared with the same week last year, production was 5,000 b/d or 0.52% higher, the data show. Production fell well short of market expectations.

Seasonal maintenance is expected to keep a lid on output for a few more weeks after production to meet peak driving season blending requirements fell later than usually expected this year.

Total stockpiles dropped in line with market expectations. Inventories decreased 22,000 barrels to finish the week at 21.523 million barrels, the data show. Inventories were 2.130 million barrels above the level of stocks at the same time a year ago.

Three of the five regions EPA measures saw a decline in stocks, led by the West Coast, which saw a draw of 207,000 barrels. East Coast stocks declined 173,000 barrels and Rocky Mountain stocks dropped 8,000 barrels, the data show.

Gulf Coast stocks, on the other hand, increased 288,000 barrels while Midwest stocks rose 76,000 barrels.

The four-week rolling average of gasoline demand, represented by product supplied, fell 35,000 b/d to 9.421 million b/d, while the weekly average increased 239,000 b/d to 9.480 million b/d, EPA said.

Gasoline demand typically wanes at this time of year as the peak driving season has drawn to a close.

The four-week rolling average of the refiner and blender net ethanol input rose 9,000 b/d to 921,000 b/d while the weekly average climbed 7,000 b/d to 937,000 b/d.

The four-week rolling average of the ethanol blending rate -- calculated by dividing the four-week rolling averages of the net ethanol input and gasoline demand -- rose to 9.78%, 0.22 percentage point below the blend wall.

The blend wall is the notional 10% limit on ethanol blending driven by infrastructure and policy constraints.

US ethanol stocks, October 6 (barrels)

--Wes Swift,