FRANKFURT, a proxy for northwest Europe, reached roughly 60% of the way through the winter heating season on February 1. So far the accumulated heating demand has been -17% below the long-term average and is the lowest since 2015/16 and before that 2006/07. But after an exceptionally long period of mild temperatures between December 19 and January 15, temperatures have turned significantly colder, causing the heating deficit to narrow slightly:
U.S. REAL PERSONAL INCOMES less current transfer payments (PILT) were down marginally in the three months from September to November 2022 compared with the same period in 2021. Real PILT captures the combined impact of changes in employment, wages and other compensation, and inflation. Turning points are one of the main indicators the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)’s Business Cycle Dating Committee uses to identify the onset of recessions and expansions. The deceleration in PILT to zero is a sign the economy is close to stalling:
U.S. PETROLEUMINVENTORIES including the strategic reserve increased by +2 million barrels in the seven days ending on January 13 after rising by +22 million barrels the week before. The combined two-week increase was the largest since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the second quarter of 2020. But similarly large increases occurred in the first weeks of 2020 and 2019 so the rise was probably attributable in part to seasonal factors. Inventories are still -94 million barrels (-5% or -2.76 standard deviations) below the prior ten-year seasonal average:
INDIA’s coal stocks at power plants remain low for the time of year at just 12 days of consumption, up from 9 at the same point in 2022, but down from 18 in 2021 and 19 in 2020. There is a risk inventories could deplete to critical levels in the event of a pre- or post-monsoon heatwave or other pressure on the electricity system, which explains why the government has instructed power producers to increase coal imports:
EUROPE’s gas inventories are rapidly nearing a record high for the time of year following warmer than normal temperatures and reductions in industrial consumption. EU28 inventories were 937 TWh on January 9 closing in on the seasonal record of 944 TWh set in winter 2019/20.
Stocks were +247 TWh (+36% or +2.37 standard deviations) above the prior ten-year seasonal average up from a surplus of +92 TWh (+10% or +0.86 standard deviations) at the start of the winter season on October 1. The storage surplus is still increasing.
Inventories are projected to reach a post-winter low of 591 TWh with a probable range of 460 TWh to 749 TWh. If that proves correct, storage facilities would end the winter 52% full, with a likely range from 41% to as much as 66%: