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04/04/2022 - Weekly Wholesale Market Update

This morning, the Electric wholesale prices have opened up 1.26% higher than this time last week with Gas increasing by 4.97%.

The Northern Hemisphere's gas winter came to an end last week, with the Apr-22 and S-22 trade contracts reaching their expiration dates. Despite the fact that prices are still near all-time highs, Europe has avoided some of the worst-case demand/supply shortages that would have almost surely resulted in emergency measures and gas rationing. This winter was mild, which relieved strain on storage tanks, which were dangerously close to all-time lows. This has allowed the EU to enter the summer with more than 25% full gas stockpiles, a considerable improvement over last year and a return to the five-year norm.

However, we can't expect trading volatility to go away since Europe must prepare for next winter - not just prudently, but legally as well; the European Commission has mandated that member states boost gas storage levels up to 80% capacity by the end of October. To do so, the EU will have to be aggressive on LNG purchases during the summer, during a year when LNG is projected to be scarce due to stiff competition from Asian customers.

At the moment, Europe is still dependant on Russia for 40% of its gas supplies. Russia has put the EU's reliance on it for energy security to the test by requiring that payments be made in roubles. It's a populist move that strengthens the rouble while putting Europe in a problematic position. The EU and the G7 countries have all resisted proposals to pay in roubles, but the real test will begin this month. Bulgaria is the first country to report that it has received an official letter from Gazprom requesting payment in the currency, with supplies set to be cut off later in April or early May if the demands are not met. Eastern European countries who are heavily reliant on Russian supplies are feeling the heat — Slovakia, which relies on Russia for 85 percent of its consumption, has already indicated its willingness to switch denominations. As the May deadline approaches, expect to see more of these differences emerge across Europe.

All of this uncertainty pushed wholesale prices higher, with gas contracts up 10% across the board and electricity contracts up 5% front-month and 10% farther down the curve. Gains were not as strong as could have been predicted in the event of a supply disruption, but the market was confident that flows westward would continue as usual, which appears to be the case thus far.

The possibility of further sanctions being implemented this week may provide some support to the market, particularly if these restrictions have the ability to damage supply. High-ranking European officials have called for a meeting of the EU's foreign ministers to consider halting Russia's gas purchases. Lithuania has stopped importing gas from the country, although it will continue to rely on supplies from Poland (and thus indirectly via Russia). Nonetheless, at the time of writing, Dutch TTF is down 8.86%, Brent is up 0.53 percent, and carbon is down 0.68 percent. Losses reflect the market's relief that flows have not been disrupted and that the winter trading season is over.

How the market has opened each day:

Date Electric (£/MWh) Gas (p/therm)

28/03/2022 206.50 242.08

29/03/2022 224.60 262.10

30/03/2022 235.00 283.00

31/03/2022 246.00 290.00

01/04/2022 244.00 249.50

04/04/2022 209.10 254.10

7 day averages

Electric (£ per MWh) 227.53

Gas (pence per therm) 263.46

The below shows how the market compares to the previous week, month and year.

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