¹ The two most important observations in this article are about gas demand reductions by energy-intensive businesses:
“Lower prices are not only saving energy-intensive companies a fortune. They have also put the colour back in the elaborate creations of the Italian glass blowers at New Murano Gallery. Each of the firm’s 11 1,000 degree furnaces produces glass with a different hue and, after the company had to turn half of them off last year, almost all are back on. ‘We have nearly the full palette,’ Francesco Scarpa, one of the gallery’s co-founders.”
“Fernández-Valladares described the mood of the tile making sector that dominates his small town in Castellón province as ‘generally quite pessimistic’. Sales have plunged. Since December, demand from clients — which are mostly wholesale buyers — has dropped 30 per cent. In January, the factory resorted to the radical option of turning off the kiln for an extended period, shutting it down for 22 days to save on gas. Fernández-Valladares said he could not rule out more shutdowns. ‘We normally work through the Easter holidays and I don’t know if we’re going to have to stop.’”
Multiply these examples across the entire European Union, and it helps explain much of the reduction in temperature-adjusted gas consumption during winter 2022/23.
BRENT’s six-month calendar spread has collapsed to a backwardation of just 47 cents per barrel down from $3 per barrel at the start of March as traders anticipate a much higher probability of a hard-landing or recession following enforced takeover of the crisis-stricken Credit Suisse by rival bank UBS:
U.S./China struggle to stabilise relationship ($WSJ)
U.S. CENTRAL BANK chief Jerome Powell toughened his rhetoric on core inflation during congressional testimony, sending forecasts for interest rates surging higher on March 7. Rate traders expected interest rates to end 2023 at around 5.55% up from a forecast of 5.38% on March 6:
SINGAPORE distillate inventories remain at their lowest level for the time of year since 2008. Stocks are -4 million barrels (-36% or -1.91 standard deviations) below the prior ten-year seasonal average. The deficit has only narrowed slightly from six months ago when it was -4 million barrels (-34% or -2.21 standard deviations):
EUROZONE manufacturers reported business activity fell in February for the eighth consecutive month. Preliminary estimates from partial survey data put the purchasing managers’ index at 48.5 (25th percentile for all months since 2006) in February compared with 48.8 (26th percentile) in January:
EU EMISSIONS allowance prices have hit a record €100 per tonne of CO2 equivalent for the compliance period ending in December 2023:
U.S. PETROLEUM INVENTORIES including the strategic reserve surged by +19 million barrels in the seven days ending on February 10. There was a huge accumulation in reported stocks of crude (+16 million barrels) with smaller increases in gasoline (+2 million) and jet fuel (+1 million) partly offset by a drawdown in distillate fuel oil (-1 million).
Total inventories were still -243 million barrels (-13% or -2.26 standard deviations) below the prior ten-year seasonal average. But stocks have been trending higher since late December and the deficit to the seasonal average is staring to narrow:
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CHINA’s manufacturers reported a significant contraction in activity last month with the composite purchasing managers’ index falling to 49.0 in July (2nd percentile for all months since 2011) down from 50.2 in June (33rd percentile). Repeated lockdowns are disrupting supply chains and economic activity:
U.S. GAS production was up +4.2% in May compared with the same month a year earlier, and up +3.1% in the three months March-May compared with the same period in 2021:
U.S. CRUDE OIL production fell -57,000 b/d in May compared with April as lower output from the Gulf of Mexico (-157,000 b/d) more than offset increases from the onshore Lower 48 (+95,000 b/d) and Alaska (+5,000 b/d). Onshore L48 output was up by just +468,000 b/d in March-May compared with the same period a year earlier:
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U.S. GASOLINE prices at retail level and adjusted for wages are now at the highest since 2013. Wage-adjusted gasoline prices are in the 94th percentile for all months since 1994, up from the 60th percentile at the end of 2021. At this level, demand destruction should be evident within the next few months:
FREEPORT LNG’s prolonged disruption is expected to reduce exports from the United States to Europe significantly and tighten the European gas market. Reduced pipeline flows from Russia are likely to worsen the shortfall.
The premium for gas delivered in Northwest Europe rather than at Louisiana’s Henry Hub next month has more than doubled to €109/MWh up from €50 on June 7.
Europe’s summer-winter calendar spread from July 2022 to January 2023 has reverted to a backwardation of almost €3/MWh from a contango of more than €14 on June 8 as traders anticipate the market will be tighter:
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U.S. PETROLEUM inventories including the strategic petroleum reserve depleted by -13 million bbl to 1,699 million bbl in the week to April 15. There were large draws in crude (-13 million bbl) and distillate fuel oil (-3 million bbl) underscoring the continued shortage of oil in global markets and strong demand, for now, for middle distillates from manufacturers and freight firms:
INDIA’s electricity grid is struggling to meet demand as air conditioning and refrigeration loads climb with temperatures that have been well above the long-term seasonal average. Frequency remains well below the target of 50 Hz, with a control range of 49.90-50.05, for much of the day as there is insufficient generation. The situation seems to have stabilised since early April but is fragile with little or no spare capacity to absorb additional shocks or meet further demand:
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