EU gas prices soar
Spot prices for natural gas in the EU rose above $1,350 per thousand cubic meters during trading on Tuesday, marking an 11% jump, according to data from the London Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
The price of gas futures for December delivery at the TTF hub in the Netherlands opened trading up 6.9%, at $1,294 per thousand cubic meters, later climbing to as high as $1,344.
Experts cite fears of a cold snap and problems with gas supplies from the continent’s top exporter Norway for pushing up energy costs. Natural gas prices have been falling throughout October and the first days of November as a warm spell delayed the heating season, providing some respite to struggling European economies.
After a long period of unusually mild weather, temperatures are set to dip below average toward the end of the week, with Berlin expected to plunge below zero, according to forecaster Maxar Technologies. That means people will start using heaters, boosting gas demand.
Concerns about winter supplies have gripped the EU for months, spurring efforts to hoard fuel. Data from Gas Infrastructure Europe shows the continent’s gas storage sites are 95.5% full.
Economists, however, warn that risks remain high as global supplies are tight. They point out that despite the recent decline, the price for European gas is about four times higher than normal for this time of year. Analysts say next year could be even harder, as refilling inventories is likely to be more challenging without Russian supplies.
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