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Brazilian ethanol prices expected to increase in December

Houston — Hydrous ethanol prices for December in Brazil's key Center-South increased 4.4% Wednesday to Real 2,070/cu m, from Real 1,980/cu m.

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Anhydrous ethanol prices have increased 4.4% to 2,055/cu m from Real 1,965/cu m. The domestic anhydrous ethanol assessment was at a 12.82% premium over hydrous ethanol on Wednesday.

The two primary reasons for this dramatic price increase in ethanol prices are increased demand from distributors and a rally in international energy markets.

"Distributors will be active buyers of hydrous ethanol for the first three weeks of December as they try to cover demand for a four-week period, which includes end of year holidays." one source told S&P Global Platts.

ICE Brent Crude futures and NYMEX RBOB futures have shown strength this week due to market expectations of an agreement to cut crude oil production at Thursday's OPEC meeting in Vienna and the possibility that US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to halt the escalation of their trading dispute.

ICE Brent Crude February futures have increased 3.87% to $61.76/b from $59.46/b and NYMEX RBOB January futures have increased 3.36% to $1.4490/gal from $1.4019/gal for December.

"Petrobras sets domestic energy prices for refined products that they sell to distributors based on reference prices in international energy markets," a second source said. "Petrobras is striving for its domestic market to be in line with international energy markets in order to improve its refinery margins."

As the year draws to a close, market participants are expecting higher domestic ethanol prices if distributor demand remains constant and international energy markets continue to rally.

"Hydrous ethanol prices could extend price gains to Real 2,150/cu m before the end of the year," the third source said. -- Sophie Byron, sophie.byron@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com