Ethanol production and corn usage dropped in 2020 US

Ethanol production and corn usage dropped in 2020 US

Ethanol production in the United States dropped 11.7% in 2020, while corn use for ethanol dropped 10%, as COVID-19 slowed demand for the renewable fuel.

Year-end data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed US ethanol production fell to 13.93 billion gallons or 11.7%, from 2019. It was the lowest production level since 2013, said the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

At the same time, corn usage for this purpose dropped 10% from 2019 to 4.78 billion bushels, the US Department of Agriculture said.

EIA data showed that domestic ethanol consumption was down 13.2% from 2019, and the lowest since 2009. Gasoline consumption in the United States was down 13.5%.

The implied ethanol blend rate rose slightly to a record 10.23%, the RFA said. On a monthly basis, the blend rate slumped to 9.05% in April. However, by November and December, the blend rate rose to record highs of 10.78% and 10.81%, respectively, as petroleum prices rebounded.

“While the COVID pandemic, Saudi-Russia oil price war, and trade disputes presented major marketplace obstacles throughout 2020, the US industry showed its resilience and determination,” said Geoff Cooper, president, and chief executive officer of the RFA. “Despite the drop in annual production and domestic blending, ethanol’s share of the gasoline pool strengthened at the end of the year as RIN prices continued to rebound and the RFS returned to the demand-driving force it was intended to be by Congress. Meanwhile, US exports were relatively buoyant, especially when export barriers and the impact of the pandemic on global fuel consumption are considered.”

The EIA estimated fuel exports at 1.34 billion gallons, a decline of 8.5%. Exports were fairly strong to start the year but then were affected by a combination of trade barriers and pandemic-related declines in fuel consumption in key markets.

Fuente: WorldGrain

Retail sales in the USA may rise among vaccination

Retail sales in the USA may rise among vaccination

U.S. retail sales could rise as much as 8.2percent to more than US$4.33 trillion this year as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and the economy reopens, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Wednesday.

Preliminary results show retail sales for 2020 grew 6.7percent to US$4.06 trillion, above the trade body’s forecast of at least 3.5percent growth, the NRF said. The retail sales numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants.

“Our principal assumption is that the vaccination will be effective and permits accelerated growth during the mid-year. The economy is expected to see its fastest growth in over two decades,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement.

U.S. retail sales are expected to rise between 6.5percent and 8.2percent in 2021, the NRF said.

Some U.S. retailers like Macy’s have folded expected benefits from the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine into annual financial forecasts, as shoppers will be able to step out and travel more, helping sales at brick-and-mortar stores pick up.

New rounds of stimulus-driven consumer spending in the coming months will strengthen retail sales, should. Congress passes the Biden administration’s support plan that includes sending a US$1,400 check to households.

The NRF also said online sales, which are included in the overall number for 2021, were expected to increase between 18percent and 23percent to between US$1.14 trillion and US$1.19 trillion. In 2020, online and other nonstore sales jumped 21.9 percent to US$969.4 billion as consumers opted to stay home and place their orders online to curb the spread of the virus.

The trade body’s forecast follows other estimates from companies like consumer research firm Customer Growth Partners (CGP).

CGP said earlier this month that retail sales in 2021 will total a record US$4.26 trillion, up 8.1percent from US$3.94 trillion in 2020.

Fuente: Channel News Asia

Grain traffic improves in the US as temperatures rise up

Grain traffic improves in the US as temperatures rise up

As thermometers began to elevate late last week across the US Upper Midwest, northern and southern Plains, and most of the Central states, the grain transportation logistics picture improved.

While a mid-February extended cold snap spurred conversations about potential winterkill damage to dormant winter wheat crops, grain market participants focused more on nearby logistical concerns. 

Temperatures hit a record-low -9 degrees in Kansas City on Feb. 16 and thermometers in nearby Lawrence, Kansas, US, fell to -17. Cold weather slowed movements of grain trains, at times to a standstill, due to the effects on locomotive power and rail car air brakes. Snow and ice stymied truck traffic in the Central states and Northeast, but especially in the southern Plains of northern Texas where trucks aren’t typically tuned for ultra-cold weather.

By the weekend of Feb. 19-21, overnight low temperatures had risen steadily into the 20-30 degree range from the Canadian border down to central Texas. At mid-morning Feb. 22, storm activity was limited to snowfall from Washington along the eastern seaboard to western Maine, including most of Pennsylvania and upstate New York.  Moderate to heavy rainfall was lashing the Appalachian states and scattered parts of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

Grain trains were flowing more regularly again by Feb. 19, brokers and millers said, and supplies were arriving after 24- to 36-hour delays.

“It could have been a lot worse,” a miller said.

As a considerable number of rail cars had earlier been placed at country origins in eastern Colorado and western Kansas, loading for contract applications or spot market offerings were expected to break open early this week.

Meanwhile, Class 1 railroads told market participants to expect extreme congestion and lengthy delay times through Kansas City, Missouri, US; St. Louis, Missouri, US; and Chicago, Illinois, US, gateways.

Source: WorldGraing

The production of flour in the US rose 0.7% in 2020

The production of flour in the US rose 0.7% in 2020

Wheat flour production by US flour mills in 2020 totaled 425.338 million cwts, up 3.061 million cwts, or 0.7%, from 422.277 million cwts in 2019, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

Production in 2020, the third-largest yearly total on record, was down 1.533 million cwts, or 0.4%, from the all-time high of 426.871 million in 2018 and 1.061 million, or 0.2%, from 426.399 million in 2017.  Following these top three years all totaling 425 million cwts or more, three other recent years topped 424 million ranging from 424.950 million cwts in 2014 to 424.550 million in 2013. Output in 2015 was 424.9 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, flour output totaled 106.987 million cwts, down 1.596 million, or 1.5%, from 108.583 million in the third quarter and down 933,000, or 0.9%, from 107.92 million cwts in October-December 2019.

The 24-hour capacity of US flour mills for the fourth quarter was estimated at 1,580,410 cwts, down 22,100 cwts from 1,602,510 in the third and down 69,340 from 1,649,750 a year ago. The record was 1,674,210 in July-September 2019.

NASS data about US flour mills

Based on the NASS data, mills operated at an average of 86.1% of six-day capacity in 2020, up from 83.2% in the prior year, the lowest for NASS data.  Calculating utilization rates based on fourth-quarter capacity, 2020 grind was 87.4%, up from 83.4% in 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020, mills operated at 87.9% of capacity, down from 88% in the third quarter but up from 85% a year ago.

Wheat grind in 2020 totaled 918.013 million bushels, up from 912.609 million in 2019. The high was 944.868 million in 2000. Mill feed production in 2020 aggregated 6,539,259 tons, up from 6,485,291 in 2019. The record was 7,374,115 tons in 2000.

NASS statistics have been published for 26 consecutive quarters and six consecutive years (2015-2020). While 2015-2020 data were compiled by NASS, only the third and fourth quarters of 2014 came from NASS. January-June data of that year originated from a North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) panel of the largest US mills and were subsequently interpolated by Milling & Baking News, a sister publication of World Grain, to make the data comparable with earlier statistics compiled by the US Census Bureau.

NASS also estimated 2020 semolina output at a record 33.802 million cwts, up 2.27 million, or 7.2%, from 31.532 million in 2019. It was 31.951 million cwts in 2018 and 31.799 million in 2017. Production was 32.93 million cwts in 2011 as interpolated by Milling & Baking News, but also 32.747 million cwts in 2010 and 32.804 million in 2007 when the Census still issued annual data.

Source: World of Grain