- After several sessions of losses, Europe’s benchmark natural gas price jumped by 10% on Thursday morning.
- The uptick in natural gas prices came as weather forecasts pointed to a colder-than-normal spell this December in northwest Europe.
- A warmer-than-expected October helped European nations to fill their natural gas storage, but cold weather warnings have worried markets.
Europe’s benchmark natural gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub jumped by 10% early Thursday as weather forecasts pointed to a colder-than-normal spell coming to northwest Europe by December.
As of 11 a.m. in Amsterdam, the TTF futures were up by 7% at $130 (134 euros) per megawatt-hour (MWh), according to Bloomberg estimates. Prices are rebounding today from several sessions of losses earlier this week.
The benchmark gas prices fell earlier this week and stayed below $97 (100 euros) per MWh as a warm October has allowed for more injections into storage instead of withdrawals. The comfortable storage levels, the high rate of LNG imports, and the mild weather in October and early November have eased concerns about gas supply and demand balances in the early part of the heating season. In fact, milder weather across most of Europe is postponing the start of the heating season.
In Germany, for example, the warm weather since the start of October has helped industry and households save 22% and 26%, respectively, of their gas consumption compared to the 2018-2021 average, says the Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, the regulator which will enforce rationing if need be.
As of November 1, gas storage sites in Europe were 95% full, with German storage at 99% full, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe.
However, with the inevitable turn of the weather after a warm October, speculation returned over how fast storage levels could be depleted this winter and whether winter demand from Asia will intensify the competition with Europe for LNG supply.
Goldman Sachs, however, expects Europe’s benchmark prices to drop to $83 (85 euros) per MWh in the first quarter of 2023, according to a recent research note cited by CNBC. But after Q1, according to Goldman, gas prices are expected to jump in the second quarter and the summer when Europe will have started rebuilding stockpiles for what would be an even more difficult winter than this one.