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European T2 ethanol hits 13-month high on plant shutdown, firmer bids

London — T2 ethanol FOB Rotterdam has hit a 13-month high, buoyed by the recent shutdown of the Vivergo production facility and the Ensus shutdown set for end of the month, sources said.

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T2 ethanol rose Eur9.50/cu m ($10.8/cu m) Thursday to Eur517.50/cu m, its highest level since late September 2017, easing some pressure on the negative production margins on the front.

Despite the shutdowns, some market participants said product availability in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub was still ample, limiting the market's upside, while others said stocks may not be as high as they seem.

Although the Ensus plant in Northeast England has not yet gone offline, there was talk in the market about when it could restart, with some sources saying it could be as early as February as new mandates support demand.

Others saw a second-quarter restart as more likely, when demand picks up even further on seasonality. There was also the suggestion the closure could be an even longer-term affair.

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The market was also gaining support from market participants seeking to fulfill mandates by the end of the year, adding weight to the demand side.

Despite that, cargoes from Paraguay and Peru were due to make their way into Europe over the coming months, leaving a bearish tinge along the curve with beet-based ethanol supplies also due to hit the market in force.

Market expectation were that beet producers will maximize sugar in the first quarter, following substantial buying on paper from a French producer and talk a German producer was considering not producing ethanol at all in the first quarter. That was supporting the market despite the additional stocks from the remainder of the beet-based ethanol producers.

--George Griffiths, george.griffiths@spglobal.com

--Edited by Daniel Lalor, newsdesk@spglobal.com