NORTHERN EUROPE is forecast to experience colder-than normal temperatures through the first half of December, which will boost gas and electricity consumption. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting is predicting colder-than-average seasonal temperatures for the weeks from December 5 to 12 (first chart) and December 12 to 19 (second chart):
U.S. MANFACTURERS reported business activity started to decline last month, for the first time since the first wave of the pandemic. The ISM composite index slipped to 49.0 in November (22nd percentile for all months since 1980) from 50.2 in October (31st percentile) and 60.6 a year ago (96th percentile).
Manufacturing growth has decelerated progressively this year and activity now shows the first sign of falling in absolute terms. Firms signalled a further decline in new business last month. The new orders component slipped to just 47.2 in November from 49.2 in October and 61.4 a year ago. It is well-below the threshold dividing expanding activity from a contraction – implying activity is likely to slow further over the next few months:
LONDON’s temperatures have been higher than the long-term seasonal average consistently since the middle of October, reducing heating demand and gas consumption. The number of heating degree days so far this winter has reached just 117 compared with a long-term average of 153. But the city-region is only 10% of the way through the expected heating season. The half-way point doesn’t normally arrive until January 23 as a result of seasonal lag:
EUROPE’s gas futures prices for November and December have continued to fall as regional storage facilities near maximum capacity. There is enough gas in stock to ensure supplies through the first half of the winter. But the risk to supplies in the second half and during next year’s refill season is keeping prices for 2023 high: