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WEEKLY ENERGY MARKET REPORT: 30th 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.

The bearishness momentum continues in the wholesale energy markets, with power contracts falling by 2.1% on average on the curve, while natural gas prices lost 3.5% within the last week. An unplanned outage at Aasta Hansteen gas field on Thursday was expected to provide some firm stimulus however, the impact on flows from the outage proved minimal thus no change in price direction occurred.

Oil prices continue the freefall with Brent Crude opening on Monday below $23.00/bbl while US Crude oil is currently priced around the $20.00/bbl mark. Carbon prices also plummeted to €16.40/t thus mirroring the global stock market direction.

The effect of lockdown measures across most countries and major cities due to the coronavirus still weighs on global demand for energy.

The UK energy market last week:

  • UK Power prices lost more than 12% on the prompt contracts last week.
  • Front season, Sum20, power contract is about to expire and is priced below £00/MWh. During the same time last year, the contract was priced above £43.00/MWh.
  • UK wholesale natural gas prices had extended losses last week amid an absence of bullish indicators.
  • The wholesale energy markets in the UK and the Continent opened softer this morning. The prevailing market bearishness has absorbed any upside potential derived from the revised-cooler weather outlook that is forecasted this week.

UK Natural Gas prices:  

British wholesale natural gas prices lost more than 11% on the near curve contract this week whereas the back-end curve contract closed the week almost flat. LNG arrivals in the UK reached 23 in March, even more than January’s 22 cargo arrivals.

The month ahead settled at 18.30p/th on Friday, a fall of 15.40%, week on week.

In terms of curve contracts, Sum20 settled at 19.35p/th on Friday, that is a 11.3% movement on the downside, week on week, while Win20 fell by 3.9% during the same period, at 32.41p/th.

UK Electricity Prices:

UK power prices mirrored the gas price movement while also influenced by the fall in the EUA allowances that dropped even further and settled below the previous lows of €17/t.

Month ahead closed on Friday at £25.80/MWh, which is 12.1% down, week on week.

Sum20 contract fell by 6.9% week on week and settled at £37.82/MWh on Friday while Win20 closed the week 1.3% lower, at £38.71/MWh.

Macroeconomics:

Unemployment benefits claims have hit an all-time high in the USA with 3.3 million claims as layoffs due to coronavirus have sent a significant number of people seeking jobless benefits.

Following the Federal Reserve, the BoE and other major banks, the Bank of Canada has also reduced their main interest rates as a stability measure against the financial impact of the coronavirus.

UK’s YoY inflation rate in February dropped to 1.7% from the 1.8% earlier this year in January. Prices increased at a softer pace especially in recreational and cultural goods as well as in housing and utilities.

What to watch this week

Outlook: Renewables generation started the week at moderate levels and will most likely to continue in the same trajectory, while the weather outlook is set for cooler than seasonal normal temperatures this week. Any upside is unlikely this week however, any slight change in the coronavirus front will most likely cause market reaction as the pandemic remains the number one driver in the global energy market.

Tuesday March 31: UK’s YoY growth rate for Q4 2020 will be published. Forecasts suggest a 1.1% growth rate, only 0.1% below Q3 2020.

Friday April 03: US Non-Farm payrolls for March will be published. February’s job gain was 273k while the forecasts suggest a decrease of 150k for March.

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