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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is proposing to allow year-round sales of gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol, seeking to calm a dispute that has riled two politically important blocs — the oil industry and corn farmers.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposal is a first step in fulfilling President Donald Trump’s promise to unleash sales of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol and deliver at least a symbolic victory to corn farmers in the Midwest who have been battered by his trade fight with China. Air pollution requirements currently block sales of that E15 gasoline from June 1 to Sept. 15 in areas where smog is a problem, and the EPA proposal would effectively lift those restrictions so it could be sold year round. At the same time, the administration is seeking to mollify some independent oil refiners that complain about volatile prices and possible hoarding of the credits required to prove they have satisfied annual biofuel blending quotas.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposed rule ending the summertime ban of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline, a move requested by President Donald Trump to help corn growers that supply the raw material for the biofuel. The agency went ahead with the proposal over the objections of the oil industry, another political ally of the Trump administration which opposes increased biofuels use because it competes with petroleum and raises costs for refiners. "Consistent with President Trump’s direction, EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release.
The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) laws are not working and there is an "opportunity for a reset" of the standard in Washington, Marathon Petroleum Corp Chief Executive Gary Heminger said on Tuesday. Heminger said that the standard has caused very volatile prices of those credits, and that it needs reform. The Trump Administration has attempted to reform the standard, but has maintained much of the existing framework of the law due to support from corn producers in Iowa and other farming states.
Corn futures trimmed some of their earlier losses Friday, after settling a day earlier at their lowest level year to date. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday forecast lower corn use for ethanol, down 25 million bushels to 5.55 billion for 2018/2019 marketing year. It also reduced its U.S. export forecast by 75 million to 2.375 billion bushels and raised its U.S. ending stocks estimate by 100 million to 1.835 billion bushels. The USDA also lifted its expectations for soybean crush, the process of converting soybeans into meal and oil, by 10 million to 2.1 billion bushels. The report came in "exactly as expected, with the exception of slightly higher U.S. corn ending stocks," said Sal Gilbertie, president and chief investment officer at Teucrium Trading. May corn was at $3.65 a bushel, down a fraction of a cent in Chicago. May soybeans fell 5 cents to $8.97 1/2 a bushel in Chicago. A finish around this level would be the lowest since mid-January. May wheat rose 1 3/4 cents to $4.40 a bushel.
The Environmental Protection Agency will attempt to stamp out speculation in the U.S. biofuel credit market by barring trading by non-industry players, publicizing large positions, and improving price transparency, a source familiar with the agency's proposals told Reuters on Thursday. The measures, included in a broader policy reform under review by the Trump administration, are intended to help U.S. oil refiners cope with the costs of complying with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. Under the law, passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007 partly to help expand farmers' market for corn, refiners must blend certain volumes of biofuels like ethanol into their fuel or purchase credits from those that do.
India is likely to import up to 1 million tonnes of corn this year as lower production and growing domestic poultry consumption boosts demand for overseas purchases, two traders estimated on Thursday. Below-normal monsoon rains and an infestation of the fall armyworm, which devastated African corn crops in 2017, have slashed India's corn output and boosted prices, increasing the chances the government will grant duty-free corn imports for the first time since 2016. "India is expected to buy anything between 500,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes as local crop is lower," said one of the traders while on the sidelines of a grain industry conference in Singapore.
U.S. trade negotiators have asked their Chinese counterparts to lower tariffs on ethanol, a corn-based biofuel, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says. China's ethanol demand is expected to grow nearly sevenfold as the country prepares to introduce E10 fuel throughout the country next year. A breakthrough would bolster President Donald Trump, who has sparred with big agriculture over his administration's biofuel policy.
Traders had been expecting purchases of corn as well as ethanol and distillers dried grains, a byproduct of biofuel production that’s used in animal feed. In fact, China’s state grain stockpiler Sinograin was Thursday in the market agreeing to contract terms for potential corn purchases, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The market had been on the lookout for “rumors of corn business being done,” said Matt Janney, a trader at Futures International, a brokerage firm in Chicago.
In a letter this week, Sen. Ted Cruz and four GOP colleagues express concerns about the costs that oil refiners face due to a requirement known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, which aims to boost the use of corn-based ethanol or other biofuels.
Bud Light's advertisement about beer and corn syrup on Sunday night during the Super Bowl angered corn farmers and surprised many others with the fact that beer would be linked with the sweetener. In a one-minute commercial during the National Football League championship game, Bud Light shamed competitor Molson Coors Brewing Co for its Miller Lite and Coors Light brews containing corn syrup. While Bud may be the king of beers, the United States is the largest producer and exporter of corn in the world.
The Grain Transport Report, a weekly publication by the Agricultural Marketing Service (a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) released information showing that total export inspections for grain (corn, wheat and soybeans) declined 22 percent from the previous week. The report said that year to date (January 1-24) inspections for grain exports decreased by 9 percent, from 9.073 million metric tons (mt) in the same period in 2018 to 8.268 million mt in 2019. The impact of declining exports can be seen across the U.S. grain supply chain.
To hear the Americans tell it, the Chinese have gone on a commercial crime spree, pilfering trade secrets from seed corn to electronic brains behind wind turbines. China has stripped the arm off a T-Mobile robot, the U.S. says, and looted trade secrets about robotic cars from Apple. The alleged victims are American companies, whose cases lie behind the U.S. complaints in the current trade talks.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday it will complete a proposal to expand sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline in time for summer, despite delays from the partial government shutdown. "I still think we can get the rule done in time and what I mean by that is get the rule in place by start of the summertime," Bill Wehrum, the agency's assistant administrator for air and radiation, told reporters at a public event in Washington, referring to the name for gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. President Donald Trump had promised U.S. farmers and biofuels producers that his administration would lift a long-time ban on summertime E15 sales to help boost demand for the corn-based fuel.
Logum, the company operating Brazil's sole ethanol pipeline, is looking to expand the system into central Brazil to reach more plants and possibly the nascent corn-based ethanol industry, which is expected to grow. Chief Executive Wagner Biasoli told Reuters Logum has secured financing for an expansion to link new mills in the state of Minas Gerais, boost delivery to Sao Paulo state and reach total capacity of 6 billion liters per year. Next up are the center-west states Goiás and Mato Grosso, some of the largest grain producers in the country, he said, adding that new biofuel incentives taking effect in 2020 should help to boost demand for ethanol.
In their long rivalry with oil refineries, farmers who produce corn for ethanol could get a boost from the 2020 election thanks to a populist incumbent president worried about the Heartland, according ...
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said in a filing Wednesday that potentially "tens of thousands" were defrauded by Randy Constant and his associates into paying a premium for products that they didn't want. Constant, of Chillicothe, Missouri, and three others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Constant, who owned an Iowa grain brokerage, acknowledged that he sold $142 million worth of corn, soybeans and wheat over a 7 ½ year period that wasn't organic despite his representations.