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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Jul 16-20: All eyes on Trump-Putin meet; gas market set for temporary shift

Energy markets will closely watch talks between US President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin, which are designed to ease the tensions between the two countries. Geopolitical concerns around Ukraine, Syria and the Iran nuclear deal are likely to be at the top of their agenda, as well as US energy sector sanctions and Russian oil production.

Europe's gas market is set for a significant temporary shift this week, as two weeks of maintenance on the Nord Stream pipeline is set to begin. The maintenance will cut flows on the 55 billion cubic meters per year link to zero.

In oil, analysts will be watching to see how quickly Libya can ramp up its crude exports, and the likely impact on global demand and supply dynamics.

And in metals, the European Commission is expected to release provisional safeguards this week as part of a three-pronged response to US steel tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed earlier this year.

View Full Transcript

In this week's highlights: a two-week Nord Stream maintenance will test the European gas market; analysts will be watching as Libya hopes to resume crude exports; and steel safeguard details are to be revealed by the European Commission.

But first: All eyes across the energy industry will be on Helsinki, where US President Donald Trump is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, today.

The one-on-one talks are designed to ease the tensions between the two countries. Geopolitical concerns around Ukraine, Syria and the Iran nuclear deal are likely to be at the top of their agenda. But US energy sector sanctions and Russian oil production could also be part of the discussion--and market participants will be watching closely.

That leads us to this week's social media question: What does Trump and Putin's meeting mean for the energy market? Tweet us your thoughts with the hashtag #PlattsMM.

The European gas market is set for a significant temporary shift this week, as two weeks of maintenance on the Nord Stream pipeline is set to begin.

The maintenance will cut flows on the 55 billion cubic meters per year link to zero. Gazprom is likely to need to call on its European storage to fulfil customer demand as the transit route via Ukraine fails to make up for the shortfall, and demand for gas from generators remains strong.

The pace of storage injections had already slowed last week due to maintenance on the Yamal-Europe pipeline, leaving northwest European storage in a deficit compared with last year.

In the oil market, analysts will be watching to see how quickly Libya can ramp up its crude exports, and the likely impact on global demand and supply dynamics.

Last week, the structure of the ICE Brent futures market briefly flipped into a contango, meaning that prices for near-term futures became cheaper relative to longer term contracts. The sell-off was spurred by news of the force majeure on several Libyan ports being lifted--increasing the prospect that more sweet Libyan crudes could return to the market.</>

From oil to metals--where firms expect to learn what the specific thresholds are for the European Commission's provisional safeguards this week. Earlier this month, the Commission revealed that a tariff-rate quota plan had been approved by member states.

The safeguard plan, part of a three-pronged EU response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this year, would see a tariff-rate quota based on traditional import levels, with additional duties being levied once those levels are reached.

The details are likely to draw further opposition from European metals trade groups and free-trade advocates, as they say import-reliant supply chains will be disrupted and domestic prices would escalate. The EC says safeguards are necessary to prevent metals from being diverted into the EU market.

And finally, today sees the expiry of the August London #5 white sugar contract, with the October to become the new front-month.

The October contract is significantly bearish, as the harvest of the new sugar crop is due to start in September--and it's potentially a bumper year across the EU and parts of Asia. The EU sugar market was liberalized in October 2017, and some see it falling to historic lows as a result of increased export availability.

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