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ADM Increases Ethanol Sales in Chicago Market
USAgNet - 09/14/2018

Archer Daniels Midland Co has sold unusually high volumes of ethanol into the Chicago market since late last year as export markets dried up, driving down prices in the U.S. Midwest and angering the company's rivals, according to traders and regulatory data. According to Reuters, the Illinois-based global commodities powerhouse, a major ethanol producer, accounted for roughly 61 percent of the 9.5 million barrels sold at the Chicago hub between November and August, according to the data reviewed by Reuters.

Previously, ADM had been a regular buyer: In September and October of last year, for example, ADM bought 810,000 barrels, 32 percent of the 2.495 million total trades in the Chicago hub during that stretch, according to the data.

ADM's shift came amid an upheaval in the domestic ethanol market as U.S. demand flatlined and export markets, including China and Brazil, were cut off due in part to the effects of President Donald Trump's widening trade disputes.

With growth in export markets slowing, U.S. ethanol inventories swelled to a record. Ethanol traders say ADM is saturating the domestic market, anchoring prices and bleeding out smaller producers less equipped to manage through the tough times.

ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson, when asked about the shift in the company's strategy, said ADM does not comment on the specifics of its commercial activity.

Ethanol futures prices traded on the Chicago Board of Trade late last month fell to $1.21 per gallon, lowest in over a decade. Ethanol in Chicago cash markets, meanwhile, were about $1.28 per gallon, just above a low of $1.24 from December, traders told Reuters.

The heavy selling by ADM has led traders who have lost money on the slumping ethanol market to complain to S&P Global Platts, which provides benchmark pricing for the physical ethanol contract at different U.S. delivery points including Chicago.

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