Pockets of strength remained with agriculture commodities such as sugar and wheat receiving a boost from what so far has been a very volatile weather season across some of the key growing regions of the world. Gas prices trading at a 2 ½-year high in the US and at record levels in Europe was another area that continued to exhibit strength amid tight supply at a time of strong demand, both raising concerns that stockpiles may not build sufficiently ahead of the peak winter demand period.
Natural gas prices across the world remain bid on a combination of hot weather driving increased demand for cooling and rising demand from industry as the global economy bounces back from the pandemic. In the US, the price of Henry Hub is trading above $4/MMBtu, the highest price for this time of year in at least ten years on a combination of rising domestic demand and rising LNG exports. This comes at a time when production has struggled to pick up, especially due to the slow recovery in shale oil production, from which gas is a byproduct.
Much worse is the situation Europe where prices have reached record levels. An unexplained reduction in flows from Russia, combined with rising competition from Asia for LNG shipments, has made it harder to refill already-depleted storage sites ahead of the coming winter. These developments have led to rising demand for coal, thereby forcing industrial users and utilities to buy more pollution permits, the price of which are already trading at record prices. All in all, these developments have led to surging electricity prices which eventually will be forced upon consumers across the continent, thereby causing a major headache for governments and potentially challenging the political will to decarbonize the economy at the agreed rapid pace.