EUROPE GAS-Dutch prices dip on mild outlook, healthy storage levels

Credit: REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL

Dec 27 (Reuters) - Dutch wholesale gas prices inched lower in quiet holiday trading on Tuesday, driven by mild weather forecasts and still well-filled storage sites.

The benchmark Dutch front-month contract was down 0.49 euros at 82.49 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) by 0951 GMT, according to data from the Intercontinental Energy Exchange (ICE).

"It looks like we will enter January with near 90% full storages and mild temperatures," a trader said.

The weather will be "milder than normal and partially unsettled and windy, with no major colder-than-normal spells before mid-January," Refinitiv meteorologist Georg Mueller said.

Europe-wide gas storages were 83.1% full, with the region's biggest consumer Germany seeing filling levels of 88.2%, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe data.

Germany has been re-filling storages for five straight days due to mild weather, wind power cutting the need for gas-fired power generation and lower power exports to France, the head of the country's energy regulator said in a tweet.

A key area to watch in January will be whether liquefied natural gas (LNG) increasingly will go to Asia, the trader said.

The LNG tanker arrival schedule for Britain and north-west Europe remained busy for the coming weeks. LNG/TKUK

Refinitiv analysts said they had a bearish view on Asian LNG spot prices this week despite the 45-day weather forecast pointing to temperatures lower than the seasonal norm for Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.

"Importers in the region appear to have sufficient supply from long-term contracts and storages to meet demand requirement for now," they wrote in a note.

Meanwhile, the massive spread of COVID-19, following the government's easing of zero-COVID restrictions, will likely dampen gas demand from the industrial sector, the Refinitiv analysts added.

The British gas market remained closed on Tuesday due to the Christmas Day substitute bank holiday.

How much of Europe’s gas storage is filled https://tmsnrt.rs/3JPbVvW

Russian gas volumes to Europehttps://tmsnrt.rs/3dMnW9G

Price of European benchmark gas contracthttps://tmsnrt.rs/3Da8mxN

(Reporting by Nora Buli; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

((Nora.Buli@thomsonreuters.com; (+47) 21 04 05 56; Reuters Messaging: nora.buli.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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