CHINA’s manufacturers reported a severe contraction in business activity in December as coronavirus infections surged following the end of the government’s suppression policy. “The epidemic has had a great impact on the production and demand of enterprises, the arrival of personnel, and logistics and distribution,” according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The purchasing managers index fell to 47.0 (1st percentile for all months since 2011) in December down from 48.0 in November (2nd percentile) and 50.1 (26th percentile) in September:
NORTHWEST EUROPE’s temperatures ended 2022 much higher than normal, sharply reducing gas consumption and pulling down prices. On December 31, the average temperature at Frankfurt in Germany was almost +14°C higher than the long-term seasonal average. Frankfurt has experienced 764 cumulative heating degree days so far in winter 2022/23 compared with a seasonal average of 901, a deficit of -15%:
FEDEX’s share price has slumped by more than -30% over the last year (more than -40% in real terms) as merchandise shipments have slowed after the pandemic. In the past, a retrenchment of this magnitude has been consistent with a mid-cycle slowdown or a cycle-ending recession:
U.S. S&P 500 equity index is down by almost -20% compared with the same point in 2021. In the past, falls of this magnitude have been consistent with the onset of a recession. The index closed at a new high only once in 2022 and that was on the first trading day of the year. The absence of new highs is reminiscent of the 2001-2012 period when equity prices stagnated in the aftermath of the dotcom bubble:
LVMH to turn off store lighting overnight to save power
Eiffel Tower to turn off lights earlier to save power ($WSJ)
U.K. GAS AND ELECTRICITY consumption has not shown a significant decline so far in response to higher prices. I spent a large part of yesterday trying to find a price response in the available official consumption statistics without success. The charts are below. But there are some important limitations:
Electricity consumption data is only available through June and gas data is only available through March owing to publication delays.
Most of the rise in prices has occurred since April with another big increase scheduled to take effect from October.
Heating demand and bills are lower in the summer months reducing consumers’ sensitivity to prices.
Domestic and commercial consumption patterns have been distorted by the lockdowns in 2020/21 and then re-opening in 2022.
Electricity and gas consumption has been on a long-term downtrend as a result of improvements in insulation and efficiency.
Electricity and gas consumption shows significant annual variation depending on winter temperatures.
Once these factors are taken into account, there is no evidence of a significant reduction in gas and electricity use by households, offices and commercial premises so far. If reductions are going to occur, it will be later this year and into 2023:
IF YOU would like to receive best in energy and my research notes every day, you can add your email to the circulation list here: https://eepurl.com/dxTcl1