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16.01.2023 11:48 PM
European gas prices fall sharply - quotes have fallen to $610

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Exchange prices for gas in Europe fell by more than 13% down to $610 per thousand cubic meters. February futures on the TTF index (the largest hub in Europe) opened Monday's trading at $728.6, but by 11:07 London time they had already dropped to $652, and minutes earlier to $645. At 17:55, gas prices in Europe slid to $610 per thousand cubic meters. This is the first significant decrease in almost 16 months - since September 6, 2021.

Perhaps the main factor that contributes to the decrease in gas prices in Europe is the favorable weather conditions that have been observed in the Western European countries in recent weeks. In fact, it is precisely these weather conditions that are responsible for the lower gas consumption in Western European countries.

The weather forecasts for the near future are also optimistic. For example, most of Europe and the US are expected to see some considerable warming for some time yet - the air temperatures, which are already above the seasonal norms, are not in a hurry to change to the usual winter climate for these regions. Unusually warm winter weather is also observed in Japan and China. The latter, by the way, is the world's largest importer of gas.

The mild weather in Asian countries means less competition for liquefied natural gas supplies. In such favorable (and undoubtedly comfortable) weather conditions there should not be a severe shortage of blue fuel.

The second factor that affects the decrease in energy prices in Europe is the wind. Earlier this year, Germany already produced record-breaking amounts of electricity derived from wind energy, which reduced the need for gas to some extent.

We shouldn't forget that the EU countries have taken a responsible approach to preparing for the winter season - they filled their gas storage facilities to capacity like never before. Gas Infrastructure Europe reports that European storage facilities were 83.52% full on January 2, although over the last five years only 70% full was the norm.

These are positive factors and they provide such great help to European citizens. But nevertheless, gas prices remain very high for them - more than twice the average for many years of observation. Such high prices, which, moreover, stay on the charts for such a long time, have not been seen in the entire history of gas hubs in Europe - since 1996.

Recall that gas prices in the EU increased significantly in the spring of 2021. Then gas quotations for TTF fluctuated in the range of $250-300 per thousand cubic meters range, but by the end of summer they were over $600; in autumn they overcame the $1000 level. In winter 2022 prices crossed the unthinkable threshold of $2000, and in early spring reached the record point of $3892 per thousand cubic meters.

Andreeva Natalya,
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