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Market Movers Europe, Dec 11-15: Winter cold snap to test natural gas markets; IEA, OPEC to publish monthly oil market reports

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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Dec 11-15: Winter cold snap to test natural gas markets; IEA, OPEC to publish monthly oil market reports

Europe could be set for a second prolonged winter cold snap this week that could test the robustness of some European natural gas markets.


In oil news, the IEA and OPEC publish their monthly oil market reports this week, including their assessments of last month’s deal by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to curb production until the end of next year.


The report which will be closely watched by the Ukrainian corn market will be Tuesday’s US Department of Agriculture report.


A vote on the Dutch biofuels 2018 mandate is expected on Tuesday. Indications from an earlier debate are that the mandate will likely increase to 8.5% on an energy basis from 7.75% now.


Do you think the European cold snap will attract more LNG imports? You can reach out to us by tweeting with the hashtag #PlattsMM.

View Full Transcript

Video Transcript


In this week's highlights, another blast of wintry weather is likely to put European gas markets under renewed pressure, we look forward to the publication of monthly oil market reports by the IEA and OPEC, and the US Department of Agriculture is expected to lower its forecast for Ukraine’s corn harvest.


CAPTION: Winter cold snap to test European gas markets


Europe could be set for a second prolonged winter cold snap this week that could test the robustness of some European gas markets. Europe's more peripheral gas markets of Spain, southern France and Italy are particularly vulnerable to big jumps in gas demand given their limited interconnectivity and storage capacity.


Last week Italian prices became the most expensive in the world as tight supply tightened and temperatures dropped. Traders in the Italian gas market will be closely monitoring the supply and demand balance, with temperatures set to drop to minus 3 degrees Celsius this week.


Italian wholesale gas contracts for week-ahead delivery have already been trading well above the break-even price for US and West African LNG supplies. Any further increase in the Italian spot gas prices may drive the January contract higher, which could attract more LNG cargoes.


And our social media question this week is: Do you think the European cold snap will attract more LNG imports? Please send your feedback by tweeting with #Platts MM


CAPTION: IEA and OPEC to publish monthly oil market reports


In oil news, the IEA and OPEC publish their monthly oil market reports this week, including their assessments of last month’s deal by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to curb production until the end of next year. Market participants expect the reports to show strong compliance by OPEC, but also production growth in countries not party to the cuts, notably the US and Brazil.


In London meanwhile, enthusiasts of North Sea oil and gas will be attending the PROSPEX exploration conference on Wednesday to discuss ways of preventing production declines.


CAPTION: Market looks to Ukraine corn forecast


The report which will be closely watched by the Ukrainian corn market will be Tuesday’s US Department of Agriculture report. The USDA is expected to cut its estimate of the Ukrainian corn harvest by 2-4% to as low as 24 million metric tons this marketing year.


Ukraine is one of the world’s top 10 corn producers. While prices have been under pressure in countries such as the US which now produces the world's cheapest corn. Should the report match expectations, this will support Ukrainian corn prices as we move into the export months of January, February and March. Many import licenses are expected to be renewed and even increased in the New Year in destination markets such as the EU and China.


Many import licenses are expected to be renewed and even increased in the New Year in destination markets such as the EU and China. A bullish USDA report could take Ukrainian prices back up to a 7-month high of around $166 a metric ton by March.


CAPTION: Dutch vote on biofuels mandate


A vote on the Dutch biofuels 2018 mandate is expected on Tuesday. Indications from an earlier debate are that the mandate will likely increase to 8.5% on an energy basis from 7.75% now. An advanced biofuel sub-target is also likely to be introduced, while double-counting is set to remain.


There were high hopes for the rollout of E10 -- a gasoline blend with 10% ethanol -- in the Netherlands for next year, but so far there has been no mention of this being included in the upcoming vote.


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