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Market Movers Europe, Apr 19-23: Bright spots for oil demand, geopolitical tensions simmer

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Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

Watch: Market Movers Europe, Apr 19-23: Bright spots for oil demand, geopolitical tensions simmer

In this week's highlights: The Earth Day summit could be the scene of new pledges on decarbonization; oil markets focus on US oil stock data; US sanctions hit entities involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, while the market focuses on the race to build up European gas stocks again during the summer.

  • Eyes on US oil stock data, Iran talks
  • Fresh sanctions aimed at Nord Stream 2
  • Earth Day, Biden climate strategy in spotlight
  • Germany gears up for Sept election

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In this week's highlights: The Earth Day summit could be the scene of new pledges on decarbonization. In gas, US sanctions hit entities involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, while the market focuses on the race to build up European gas stocks again during the summer.

First, oil market fundamentals are looking stronger for now, but new lockdowns are a bearish factor to watch, and global demand recovery is likely to be very uneven.

Europe's recovery remains sluggish but there are positive signs for UK oil demand due to easing lockdowns and a high vaccination rate.

Markets will be acutely focused on US oil stock data, while global mobility indicators such as the pickup in global commercial flights, shown in the chart, will also be key for gauging the pace of the demand recovery.

In the Middle East, indirect talks between Iran and the US are in the spotlight, and the sheer frequency of attempted attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, is also starting to unsettle oil markets and add to the anxiety in the region.

Meanwhile, the US issued a new round of sanctions targeting Russian entities and individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which could have knock-on effects in the energy sector.

And speaking of gas, a recent cold snap in Europe caused a switch to withdrawals from gas storage, bringing EU sites down to less than 30% full, as the chart shows. With concerns in the market about whether stocks can be refilled over summer, more LNG could be drawn to Europe on the current strong price signals.

Elsewhere, the market's attention will turn to the Earth Day virtual summit on Thursday this week, with US President Joe Biden expected to announce a more ambitious national emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement.

America's diplomatic power is important for the global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as countries gear up for the COP26 United Nations climate talks in November.

More ambitious emissions targets would indicate greater demand for carbon offset credits and, as you can see in this chart, Platts CORSIA-eligible carbon credits have made price gains in recent months.

Finally, watchers of European energy and climate policy will be following political developments in Germany ahead of September's election. This week the two leading parties name their lead candidate in the race to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel's conservatives remain the biggest party in the polls, but have lost ground to the Greens. The rise of the Greens, triggered by the Chernobyl accident exactly 35 years ago this week, has changed Germany's energy landscape fundamentally, with the last reactors to shut next year.

Energy policy focus towards 2030 is shifting to decarbonizing transport and heating as the expansion of renewables has stalled. But higher wind and solar targets and greener energy imports will still be key with many difficult decisions referred to Brussels.

The Platts Atlas of Energy Transition is your map to the sustainable commodity markets of the future. You can explore the Atlas by visiting the address displayed on your screen.

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