Best in Energy – 10 August 2022

European retailers cut lighting and hours to save energy

U.S. electricity use forecast to rise to record high in 2022

Microsoft cuts travel and other expenses ($WSJ)¹

China’s climate is getting hotter and wetter (trans.)

China’s ultra-deep Tarim basin oil and gas wells (trans.)

¹ Most major corporations are starting to restrict travel and other routine expenses spending as they try to cope with rising inflation while maintaining earnings in line with forecasts and analysts’ expectations. Business spending reductions will flow through into slower growth in passenger aviation, hospitality and other business-related services. Spending controls will therefore amplify the broader business cycle slowdown that is already underway.

EUROPE’s major rivers are running very low as a result of the prolonged drought and temperatures well above normal. Recorded water depth on the Rhine at the Kaub gauging station has fallen to just 48 centimetres, the lowest seasonal level for more than a quarter of a century by a wide margin, severely restricting barge freight:

U.S. RETAIL GASOLINE prices have fallen for eight consecutive weeks by a total of -96 cents per gallon (-19%) since June 13. Retail diesel prices have declined for seven consecutive weeks by a total of -82 cents per gallon (-14%) since June 20.

Fuel-price reductions are mostly explained by the decline in international crude prices. Refining margins remain higher than before Russia invaded Ukraine. Diesel prices remain elevated compared with gasoline as a result of the global diesel shortage.

In the last two months, lower crude and fuel prices have been driven by the slowdown in the economy (actual and expected) and the pass-through from former price increases which have enforced changes in household and business behaviour and dampened consumption. In the next few months, if lower prices are sustained, they will relieve some pressure on household budgets and business operating costs, ease recessionary forces, and buy back some of the demand that was lost:

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Published by

John Kemp

Energy analyst, public policy specialist, amateur historian