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European gas price, at lowest value of the past 17 months

17 January 2023

Reference prices of natural gas in Europe fell on Monday to the lowest level since September 2021, as full depots in China compel suppliers to send their cargoes loaded with liquefied gas to the European continent, reports Bloomberg.

Natural gas futures fell as much as 15% on Monday, bringing the year-to-date decline to 27%. Chinese importers are trying to direct deliveries scheduled for February and March to Europe, amid low prices and high stocks on the Chinese market. This information calmed concerns that the recovery of the Chinese economy will stimulate gas demand so that ships loaded with LNG will be redirected from the West to China, according to Agerpres.

At the TTF gas hub in Amsterdam, where European benchmark prices are set, around 3.49 p.m. gas futures were down 14% to 55.48 euros per Megawatt, after falling for five weeks in a row.

A prolonged period of high temperatures was one of the main reasons for this decline. Even if a cold snap is forecast for this week, it is very likely to be short and not strong enough to reduce gas stocks that have barely been used over the past month as demand has been kept under control and imports of liquefied gases are at a high level.

“At the moment, there is no end in sight to the declines on the European gas market. The panic situation of last year has been replaced by the confidence that Europe will get through the winter without any supply problems,” say analysts from the trading firm Energi Danmark A/S.

However, there are some warning signs that the crisis triggered by the significant reduction in Russian natural gas supplies to Europe is far from over. Europe was “lucky” that the weather was with it, but its supply remains exposed to geopolitical events, warned the president of Iberdrola SA, Ignacio Sanchez Galan. Even though gas prices have decreased, they are still above the multi-year average for this time of year.

For the moment, however, the European natural gas market is also receiving a helping hand from renewables. Thanks to electricity produced from renewable sources, Europe uses less natural gas to produce electricity. Official data shows that, on Saturday, wind turbines in Germany produced a record amount of electricity, a similar situation was recorded in Great Britain.

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