Natural gas prices in Europe are returning to pre-war Ukraine levels

I backed off Natural gas prices in Europe this week to levels not seen since before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

First-month TTF natural gas futures – the benchmark contract in Europe – have fallen in recent weeks to the lowest since February, below 77 euros ($81.91) per MWh.

As of Thursday morning, these contracts were trading at about 81.5 euros, according to “Bloomberg”, and “Al” reviewed it.

At its peak during August, European gas prices exceeded €345/MWh as Russia’s weaponization of its natural gas exports to the rest of the continent in response to punitive EU sanctions and extremely high summer temperatures boosted demand while constraining supply.

The price hike has also sent household energy bills soaring and causing a cost-of-living crisis in much of the continent.

However, unusually warm winter weather across much of northwestern Europe has reduced heating demand and allowed the continent to replenish its gas stocks after slumping through several cold spells over the past few months.

In November, Goldman Sachs predicted a sharp drop in European gas prices in the coming months as countries gained temporary control over supply issues.

The European Union last week approved a temporary mechanism to curb excessive gas prices, which takes effect on February 15.

Under the agreement, the “market correction” mechanism will be triggered automatically if the first-month TTF price exceeds €180/MWh for 3 consecutive days, or if it deviates by €35 or more from the global LNG reference price over the same three days.

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