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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Jan 25-29: World leaders come together online for the World Economic Forum

In this week's highlights: New US polices will be on the agenda during the online World Economic Forum, a global container shortage drives European polymers up, and the first new interconnector between the UK and France starts operating.

US handover sets tone for Davos Agenda

*Container shortage spurs multi-year polymer highs

*New UK-France power link sparks up

*European gas storage sites emptying fast

More Market Movers:

Asian oil markets await US signals

View Full Transcript

In this week's highlights: New US polices will be on the agenda during the online World Economic Forum, a global container shortage drives European polymers up, and the first new interconnector between the UK and France starts operating.

But first, to the oil market, where industry participants are keeping a close eye on energy-related policy emanating from the new administration in the US, and particularly any international ramifications, such as changes to the policy on Iran and Russia, as well as on climate change.

The change of administration will inevitably set the tone for the Davos World Economic Forum, taking place online starting Tuesday, with the speakers set to include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. Both their countries are keen to influence US policy on issues such as sanctions and the Nord Stream pipeline.

And that takes us to our social media question for the week: What will the new US administration bring to the oil market? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PlattsMM.

Also speaking, on Wednesday, is International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol, who has already voiced enthusiasm for the US again signing up to the Paris Agreement on climate change. We will also hear from the UK's Alok Sharma, president of this year's COP26 climate talks, who will be setting out his goals, in the face of the current pandemic, when he appears on a number of panel discussions this week. On Wednesday, some prominent CEOs such as Shell's Ben van Beurden, Trafigura's Jeremy Weir, and Occidental Petroleum's Vicki Hollub will be giving industry perspective.

Moving further downstream, EMEA polymer markets look set to reach fresh multi-year highs this week amid expected bullish upstream contract price settlements, as markets continue to battle an ongoing global container shortage, with a heavy backlog of availability in the Far East.

The shortage has contributed to substantial rises in polymer costs, with synthetic rubber exporters paying some 3-5 times normal freight rates to send material east, and European PP buyers unable to import any material from major suppliers in Asia.

Increased demand for container freight looks set to extend beyond the first quarter, with some carriers sending empty containers to Asia on backhaul voyages in order to alleviate delays.

In power, the first week of operation of the new IFA2 interconnector between the UK and France should help ease the UK's generation tightness, graphically illustrated in recent price spikes

It's been a patchy winter for Europe's subsea cables, with three sizeable outages, and the UK is still having to do without power imports from the Netherlands on the BritNed line. With BritNed not due back until February 7, we will have to wait to see the full effect of the UK's expanded interconnected capacity with the Continent in play.

And finally, in European gas, an important trend for the market to monitor is the rate of gas storage withdrawals.

Storage sites have been emptying quickly in recent weeks, and are now just 58% full, as traders look to benefit from strong storage economics.

With European gas prices now up around the Eur20/MWh mark, the incentive to take gas out is strong, resulting in significant rates of withdrawal. Traders will be keeping a close watch on storage site activity in the coming weeks, given that more late winter cold weather could hike gas demand again.

For more on all of the issues affecting commodity markets from wherever you are, make sure to check out Platts LIVE at the address displayed on your screen.

Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us and have a great week ahead!