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Market Report March

WEEKLY ENERGY MARKET REPORT: 2nd March 2020

Ignite bring you the latest energy news across the UK and Europe. We track and analyse changes in the energy market to keep you informed and up to date. Here’s the latest news from the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

British wholesale natural gas prices remained largely unchanged in the last week amid no significant change in fundamentals. Import flows from Norway remained comfortable while the forecast for LNG arrivals in March remains strong. One unplanned outage at Kollsnes gas plant caused minimal flow disruptions on Monday. The high levels of wind generation have resulted in lower levels of gas fired power generation.

British wholesale power prices mirrored the natural gas price movement as front-month pricing fell by 1.5%, week-on-week, on the back of a weaker energy commodity complex. On top of the bearishness in the overall market, renewables generation weighed even further on prices.

Oil prices dropped below $50/bbl, as of the time of writing, following an increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China. Global oil markets have suffered a significant drop in demand levels the last month following the coronavirus pandemic.

 The UK energy market last week:

  • The wholesale power market closed flat on Friday, with no major changes in fundamentals.
  • British wholesale natural gas prices continue to trade at last week’s levels amid increasing levels of LNG arrivals for March.
  • Oil prices are now at 12-month low levels and currently priced below $50/bbl amid concerns about the world’s oil demand.

UK Natural Gas prices:  

The natural gas market started the week on the front foot as an unplanned outage at Kollsnes plant was instantly priced in, however the impact on pricing was short lived with flows recovering quickly and prices retreating to levels seen before the outage. Strong LNG complex for March provided an additional level of pressure for prompt pricing that settled at 23.45p/th on Friday.

UK Electricity Prices:

UK power prices closed flat both on the curve and the prompt contracts on Friday. The bearish fundamentals continue to prevail in North West Europe. The upside risk that has been provided by the oil market, through possible additional production cuts from the OPEC group, have now been cancelled out as coronavirus fears dipped demand even further.

Prompt contracts dropped by 1.5% at £32.65/MWh while Sum-20 and Win-20 dropped by 0.5% and 0.4% and settled at £33.22/MWh and £42.47/MWh respectively.

Macroeconomics:

The Pound dropped by 3.2% against the Euro in the previous week, to €1.152, after the UK Prime Minister threatened to walk away from trade negotiations with the EU if no significant progress has been made by June.

What to watch this week

Outlook:  The wind outlook still looks strong for the week while temperatures are expected to be low during the first week of March. Nevertheless, from the 2nd week of the month onwards, average temperatures are expected to reach seasonal normal levels.

In terms of the wider energy commodity complex, any updates on the coronavirus outbreak might give direction this week as many markets and countries are impacted. As a result, carbon and oil markets are likely to remain volatile. On the EU/UK front, any updates on the trade negotiations will most likely provide direction to the currency pair.

Friday 6th March. USA’s non-farm payrolls for February will be released with expectations set to 165,000 job gain against the 225,000-increase seen in January.

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