Global gas and LNG benchmarks are flatlining on the eve of winter. How long can this market tranquility last? EU LNG chart deck: 18 Sep-6 Oct 2023
It’s the ‘shoulder season’ and global gas markets have duly softened. Unable to absorb more molecules, Europe has loosened its grip in the tug-of-war with Asia for liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a brief restocking opportunity for buyers east of Suez. Markets are still pricing in a premium for winter LNG deliveries into Europe, but the opportunity to float cargoes into high-price colder months has evaporated. The question now is, how long can this state of eerie calm endure — and what will trigger the next bout of sparring?
Mild autumnal temperatures are keeping a lid on northern hemisphere cooling and heating demand. Gas flows into Europe from Norway have recovered post-maintenance, and (what remains of) Russian pipeline exports are stable. With EU storage levels at or near their technical capacity, front-month TTF — the European gas benchmark — has lost a lot of ground against JKM, the Asian LNG spot price.