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Analys

SIP Nordic – Råvaruguiden – augusti 2012

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SIP Nordic - RåvaruguidenDet är inte bara vi människor som tar semester under sommaren. Råvaror har också en tendens att lugna ned sig och dessutom backa en del under sommarens sista månader.

Sommarmånaderna, med augusti i spetsen, är historiskt sett svaga månader för råvaror. Faktum är att endast två råvaror, av de tretton som vi bevakar, historiskt har presterat bättre under augusti månad jämfört med utvecklingen under sept-dec (hösten).

Med nedtrappningen i den västerländska industrin under slutet av sommaren kommer även större lager av råvaror med sjunkande priser som följd. Till exempel har koppar under de senaste 27 åren haft stigande lager under 24 av dessa i augusti månad. Vilket också visar sig historiskt då koppar underpresterat under augusti jämfört med de fyra sista månaderna av året.

Lägg därtill den minskade aktiviteten från spekulanter vilket till viss del sänker volatiliteten under dessa månader.

De fyra sista månaderna har även historiskt sett varit positiva för de övriga råvaror vi bevakar. Hela 11 av råvarorna har sedan 1997 haft en positiv utveckling under sept-dec. Med ökad industriell aktivitet, återkomsten av spekulanter på marknaden och ett potentiellt QE3 kan vi få se detta mönster upprepa sig under 2012.

Diagram för råvaror

Råvaror – Energi

Brent olja

Graf över oljepriset (brent) år 2010 till 2012

  • Brentoljan har under 2012 åkt berg och dalbana. För året är brent ned ca 2%.
  • Brent har haft en stark period sedan mitten av juni. Brent har sedan mitten av juni stigit med 20%.
  • Spekulationer om ett eventuellt QE3 eldar på utvecklingen i oljan. Om Ben Bernanke bestämmer att det krävs en kvantitativ lättnad kan oljan leta sig upp mot topparna i mars.
  • Oroligheter i mellanöstern kan också driva brentoljan till högre nivåer.

Prognos för framtida oljepris tom 2013

Naturgas

Prisutveckling på naturgas - Graf över (nästan) 2 år

  • Naturgas fortsätter sin klättring uppåt och befinner sig nu i en kortsiktigt positiv trend. Naturgas är för året upp drygt 1%.
  • Sedan botten i mitten av april har priset på naturgas ökat med drygt 60%.
  • En stor anledning till uppgången är att många spekulanter, däribland hedgefonder ligger i korta positioner. Detta kan fortsatt driva priset uppåt.

Prognos på naturgaspriser år 2012 och 2013

Råvaror – Metaller

Guld

Prisutveckling - Gold pris 2 år

  • För året är guld upp ca 3%.
  • Juli månad resulterade inte i några större rörelser. Guld är upp 1,4% under juli månad.
  • Thomson Reuters släppte förra månaden sin rapport om ädelmetaller där analytikerna reviderade sin syn för guldpriset under 2012-2013. Analytikerna spår att guldpriset kommer att ligga på samma nivå året ut för att sedan öka något under 2013.
  • Guldpriset har i år varit starkt korrelerad med hur den europeiska och amerikanska centralbanken har agerat.. Ett eventuellt QE3 kan få guldet att röra på sig ordentligt.

Analytikers prognoser för guldpriset tom 2013

Silver

Hur silverpriset har utvecklats under 2 år

  • Silver är för året upp knappa 1%.
  • Sedan slutet av februari har silver tappat mer än 25,9 %.
  • Likt guldet kommer silvers utveckling till stor del styras av huruvida den amerikanska centralbanken trycker nya pengar eller inte.
  • Andelen spekulanter som tror på nedgång i silver ökar. Andelen långa kontrakt i silver är nu 2 195 ton. Den lägsta siffran sedan i slutet av 2001.
  • Om QE3 blir verklighet kan många spekulanter ligga på fel sida vilket kan få silver att få samma utveckling som under april 2011.

Prognoser för silverpriset till och med Q2 2013

Platina

Prisutveckling på platina tom augusti 2012

  • Platina är för året upp nästan 3 %.
  • Sedan toppen i februari har dock platina tappat nästan 18 %.
  • Platina fortsätter at handlas till en billigare kurs än guld.
  • Likt silver ökar andelen spekulanter som tror på nedgång i platina.
  • Tillgången av platina spås vara oförändrat under 2012 samtidigt som konsumtionen väntas sjunka med 0,2 %.

Analytiker om platinapriset - Augusti 2012

Koppar

Graf över utveckling på kopparpris

  • För året är kopparpriset i princip oförändrat. Upp 0,5 % sedan slutet av december 2011.
  • Sommarmånaderna innebär industrisemester vilket historiskt har pressat priset på koppar under augusti månad. Återstår att se vad som händer i år.
  • Det finns fortsatt en rädsla för minskad kinesisk tillväxt. Kina står för 40 % av världskonsumtionen.

Prognos för kopparpris - Q3 2012 till Q1 2013

Zink

Diagram över utveckling på zinkpris - Augusti 2012

  • Zink är upp knappa 1,3 % för året.
  • Under juli månad har zinkpriset ökat 0,5 %.
  • Likt andra metaller har zinkpriset fallit kraftigt sedan månadsskiftet januari/februari.
  • Tillgången på zink är stort och priset påverkas negativt av rapporter om stigande lager. Detta kan trycka ned priset ytterligare.

Analytiker om zinkpriset tom Q2 2013

Nickel

Nickelpriset har tappat - Graf

  • Nickel presterade sämst av alla basmetaller under 2011.
  • Nickel fortsätter sin kräftgång under 2012 är för året ned nästan 13 %.
  • Sedan toppen i februari har nickel tappat mer än 27 %.
  • Nickelmarknaden är mättad med ökande lager.
  • Många stora projekt inom nickelproduktion är redan finansierade och irreversibla vilket kommer att öka tillgången av nickel ytterligare.

Analytikers prognoser på nickelpriset

Råvaror – Jordbruk

Socker

Prisutveckling på sockerpris - Graf år 2010 - 2012

  • Jordbruksråvarorna sommarutveckling fortsätter att vara stark.
  • Sedan början av juni är socker upp närmare 20 %.
  • För året är dock sockerpriset ned dryga 4 %.
  • Många spekulanter ligger fel i sina positioner. Många hedgefonder ligger i stora korta positioner vilket pressar priset på socker uppåt.

Prognos på sockerpris tom Q3 2013

Bomull

Graf över prisutveckling på bomull

  • Bomull är för året ned ca 24 % där merparten av nedgången kom i maj. I maj föll bomullspriset med närmare 20 %.
  • Rekordexport av bomull från Indien pressar priset.
  • Bomullspriset konsoliderar nu kring 71 cents. Viktig nivå hittar vi kring 66 cents.
  • Trots att bomullspriset fallit kraftigt under 2012 är det fortfarande nästan dubbelt så högt som priset för några år sedan. Fallhöjden är således stor.

Prognos för pris på bomull tom Q3 2013

Majs

Majspriset har skjutit i höjden

  • Priset på majs har ökat kraftigt sedan i början av juni. +51 %.
  • För året är majs upp 28 %.
  • Tidigare spekulationer visade att skörden av majs i USA skulle vara mycket god. Extrem torka gör dock att kommande skörd ser ut att vara mycket dålig vilket driver priset på majs till de högsta nivåerna sedan juni 2011.
  • Knappt 40 % av skörden spås vara av god kvalitet.

Lägre prognoser på majspriset

Vete

Vetepriset skjuter i höjden

  • Likt majs rusade vete under juni och juli månad. Upp nästan 51 % sedan mitten av juni
  • För året är priset på vete upp 40 %.
  • Torkan i USA gör att den kommande skörden inte blir så stor som förutspått.
  • Gemensamt för både majs och vete är att de kraftiga uppgångarna skett mycket snabbt vilket har resulterat i en liten rekyl nedåt. Nu konsoliderar vete kring 900. Med viktig nivåer kring 950 och 875.

Lägre prognoser för vetepriset

Apelsinjuice

Apelsinjuice har sjunkigt i pris

  • Efter återhämtningen under maj-juni har priset på apelsinjuice tappat under juli.
  • Apelsinjuice är ned ca 10 % under juli månad vilket gör att priset på apelsinjuice nu har tappat 36 % för året.
  • Priset på apelsinjuice är fortfarande 85 % högre än botten 2009. Fallhöjden är således hög.

[box]Denna uppdatering är producerat av SIP Nordic och publiceras i samarbete och med tillstånd på Råvarumarknaden.se[/box]

Ansvarsbegränsning

Detta produktblad utgör endast marknadsföring och har sammanställts av SIP Nordic Fondkommission AB.

Innehållet ger inte fullständig information avseende det finansiella instrumentet. Investerare uppmanas att del av prospekt och slutliga villkor, vilka finns tillgängliga på: www.rbsbank.se/markets, innan ett investeringsbeslut tas.

Förekommande exempel är simulerade och baseras på SIP Nordics egna beräkningar och antaganden, en person som använder andra data eller antaganden kan nå andra resultat. Administrativa avgifter och transaktionsavgifter påverkar den faktiska avkastningen.

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Analys

Surge in US crude inventories dampens bullish sentiment

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

Price action
Brent crude is currently trading at USD 81.4 per barrel, marking a decline from its February peak of USD 83.6 per barrel recorded yesterday (February 14th), representing a notable drop of 2.6% within a short span of time.

Ole R. Hvalbye,
Analyst Commodities, SEB
Ole R. Hvalbye, Analyst Commodities, SEB

This morning, crude prices continue to slide, following a larger-than-anticipated increase in US crude inventories (+12.0 million barrels) as reported in the US Petroleum Status Report (EIA). This uptick in inventories is attributed to a further decrease in refinery operations and a relatively softer demand for petroleum products.

Yesterday, crude prices flirted with January highs amidst geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and sustained production cuts by OPEC+. However, the surge in crude inventories observed recently, the most significant since November 2023, is tempering bullish sentiment. Notably, inventories at the ”key” Cushing, Oklahoma, exceeded expectations for this time of year (refer to page 2 in attachment).

Adding to the bearish sentiment is the widespread reduction in oil product inventories, primarily influenced by refinery outages rather than a substantial uptick in demand. Notably, US crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.5 million barrels per day, marking a decrease of 297 thousand barrels per day compared to the previous week, with refineries operating at 80.6% of their capacity.

Recent market expectations suggest the likelihood of prolonged higher US interest rates due to persistent inflationary pressures, resulting in a stronger US dollar. This aspect contributes to weaker oil prices, as the cost of procuring oil in other currencies becomes relatively expensive, thereby impacting short-term demand dynamics.

Oil inventories

Changes in Inventories:
Crude Oil Excluding SPR: Commercial crude oil inventories (excluding SPR) increased notably by 12.0 million barrels, representing a 2.8% rise from the previous week, but still a substantial 6.8% decrease from the same period last year. However, the surge exceeds typical seasonal adjustments, indicating potential reduced crude demand, and a more well-balanced market.

Distillate: Distillate (diesel) fuel oil inventories declined by 1.9 million barrels, showcasing a 1.5% decrease from the prior week but a significant 5.4% increase compared to the same period last year (naturally from very low levels). The weekly drawdown contributed to a further decline compared to normal, and now distillate stocks remain approximately 7% below the five-year average for this time of year – indicating sustained demand or constrained production.

Gasoline: Total motor gasoline inventories witnessed a decrease of 3.7 million barrels, marking a 1.5% decline from the previous week but a modest 2.2% increase from the same period last year. This reduction aligns with seasonal expectations, albeit slightly exceeding typical adjustments.

Jet Fuel: Inventories of kerosene-type jet fuel increased by 0.1 million barrels, representing a minimal change of 0.2% from the prior week. However, compared to the same period last year, jet fuel inventories surged by 12.1%, indicative of potential shifts in air travel for the start of 2024.

Crude & Product Including SPR: Total petroleum stocks, inclusive of SPR, witnessed a modest increase of 5.9 million barrels, indicating a 0.4% rise from the prior week. However, compared to the same period last year, total stocks experienced a notable 2.4% decrease.

Crude & Product Excluding SPR: Excluding SPR holdings, total petroleum stocks increased by 5.2 million barrels, reflecting a 0.4% rise from the previous week but a 2.1% decrease compared to the same period last year. Despite the weekly increase, petroleum stocks remain below historical averages for this time of the year.

Supply and Demand:
Supply remained relatively stable, with domestic crude oil production and imports showing marginal fluctuations. However, net imports witnessed a notable decline, reflecting shifts in trade patterns and production capacities.

Demand for petroleum products witnessed a decline, as evidenced by product supplied figures. The declines in certain product categories suggest nuanced shifts in consumer behavior.

Exports and Imports:
Exports surged by 751 thousand barrels per day, indicating robust international demand for US petroleum products. Conversely, imports witnessed a decline of 437 thousand barrels per day.

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Analys

The EUA price could drop to EUR 40/ton and then be picked up by Airliners, Shipping and Utilities

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

The EUA price is dropping hard along with a sharp decline in the front-year TTF nat gas contract. The typical last-round sell-off in EUA prices have typically been a final sell-off of 10-20-30%. From EUR 60/ton level it implies a price decline down to EUR 54; 48; 42/ton. The front-year nat gas price and the front-year Coal-to-Gas (C-t-G) differential is what has held the EUA price above EUR 60/ton. But if the TTF 2025 price falls down to EUR 27/ton the front-year C-t-G differential will fall all the way towards EUR 40/ton. That TTF 2025 falls to EUR 27/ton or lower seems likely to happen and the risk is high that the EUA price will be sucked down along with it. But nat gas demand is starting to come back with a lag in nat gas price declines in the EU but probably also in Asia. Thus first an over-sell in nat gas prices, then demand revival and then a rebound in both nat gas prices and EUA prices. Airliners, shipping companies and Utilities will probably buy as much EUAs they can get if the EUA price fall down towards EUR 40/ton.

Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities at SEB
Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities, SEB

Front-year 2025 TTF nat gas price falls hard and so does the EUA price. The front-month EUA price dropped 2.7% yesterday to EUR 58.97/ton and thus broke out of the sideways trend around EUR 61/ton since 18 January. Today it has sold off another 3.2% to EUR 57.1/ton.

Again it is the nat gas price which is leading the way and more specifically it is about the front-year nat gas which lost 1.9% on Wednesday and another 2.5% again ydy to a close of EUR 30.65/MWh and today it has solf off 2.8% to EUR 29.8/ton.

The EUA price has very clearly been balancing on the front-year Coal-to-Gas (C-t-G) differentials. The C-t-G differentials have been significantly lower than EUR 60/ton both at the front-end of the curve (1-2-3 month) and for calendars 2026 and 2027. But the front-year nat gas price has held up at around EUR 31/MWh quite well since around mid January. 

How far down will the EUA price go? The final sell-off could be down towards EUR 40/ton. With these dynamics the big question then becomes: How far down will the front-year nat gas contract sell? It will of course sell off too far as commodities always do. The reason commodities do this is the natural reactive chain of events which normally comes with a lag: First the price goes down before dropping hard in the final round of the sell-off. Then demand comes back with a lag to the price action. This again drives the price back up and off from the lows to a level consistent with the revival in demand. If demand instead had reacted immediately to lower prices then the hard drop at the end of the sell-off might not have happened.

Looking at previous hard, final sell-off-drops in the EUA price we can see that final drops typically have been 10-20-30% as the last final drop. If we take the EUR 60/ton as the starting point of this final drop, then we are talking an EUA price bottom of somewhere in the range of EUR 54; 48; 42/ton.

Global nat gas demand destruction in the face of very high nat gas prices solved the energy crisis. Let’s link this back to price action in nat gas. The reason why Europe has managed the recent energy crisis (Russia/Ukraine, nat gas,…) so surprisingly well is 1) Large reduction in nat gas demand in EU due to exceptionally high prices and 2) Significant demand destruction in Asia freeing up nat gas to flow to the EU. I.e. it was global demand destruction of nat gas in response to extremely high prices globally which solved the energy crisis. It was solved by the global market.

Demand for nat gas is starting to come back as the price falls. The nominal historical average nat gas TTF price was EUR 20/MWh from 2010 to 2019. But the real average was EUR 26/MWh. So seen from the eyes of consumers in both Europe and Asia, a price of EUR 26/MWh is an historically absolutely normal price. Demand for nat gas should thus naturally accelerate back towards normal levels at current nat gas prices. Not just in Europe, but also globally in all regions exposed to nat gas prices set by global LNG prices. This is already happening in the EU. Temp. adj. demand destruction vs. normal has typically been running at around 16% from mid-2022 to December 2023. Average ytd is 14% while the last 15 days is 9%. Demand destruction is fading as the price of nat gas is falling. But do remember that this is also happening in Asia but it is harder to track.

Normal nat gas demand AND normal gas prices is not consistent as Russian nat gas exports still down 1100 TWh/yr. There is however an inconsistency here in expecting normal prices and normal demand for natural gas now onward. The inconsistency is that the EU and thus the world is still robbed of the normal flow of nat gas on pipelines to Europe. This amounts to a loss of 3 TWh/day and thus close to 1100 TWh/year. When this gas is no longer flowing to the EU it isn’t flowing anywhere. It is lost to both the EU and the world. Until that is, Russia has built loads of new pipes to Asia and new LNG terminals. And that takes years.

A return to normal prices and normal demand while the world still is missing 1100 TWh/year of Russian nat gas isn’t really a consistent outcome in our view.

Demand for nat gas will continue to revive as the price of nat gas keeps falling. But both the EU and the world still need of a nat gas price at above normal levels to induce a certain amount of demand destruction until the point in time when new LNG export facilities globally has managed to replace the 1100 TWh/year we have lost from Russia.

Front-end TTF nat gas down to EUR 27/MWh could drive the EUA price to EUR 40/ton. The dynamic sell-off nat gas, prices will likely move lower than to the level which over time is consistent with continued need for some demand destruction globally.  This because demand revival will come with a lag to the decline in prices. It is thus fully plausible that the TTF 2025 contract moves all the way down to EUR 27/MWh (or maybe even lower). If so it would imply a 2025 C-t-G differential of only EUR 40/ton for the EUA price to balance on and reference to. That could be the final hard drop in the EUA price. That’s a 30% drop from EUR 60/ton. But it won’t last because that nat gas price is likely too low vs. what is needed globally to maintain some level of demand destruction for a while longer.

An EUA price of EUR 40/ton would also be too cheap to resist for a range of market participants and they’d likely jump in and purchase with both hands. Airliners and shipping companies which will have difficulties of shifting away from fossil fuels and will need EUAs for years to come. Also utilities could step in and purchase large amounts of EUAs even if forward margins are negative. Some EU based utilities with large fossil-based assets bought truckloads of EUAs from 2011 to 2017 when the EUA price ranged from EUR 3/ton to EUR 9/ton. For them the EUA certificate is not only a marginal cost. It is also a licence to operate. The EUA price will of course not return to that level again. But if we move to EUR 40-50/ton, then it will probably trigger strategic buying by shipping companies, airliners as well as utilities.

Front-year TTF nat gas TTF price is dropping and leading the EUA price lower after a period of sideways action since mid-Jan

Front-year TTF nat gas TTF price is dropping and leading the EUA price lower after a period of sideways action since mid-Jan
Source: SEB graph, Blbrg data

But the EU and the world is still missing some 3 TWh/d or 1100 TWh/yr of piped nat gas from Russia. When Russian nat gas is no longer flowing on pipes to Europe, it is flowing nowhere.

Natgas
Source: SEB graph, Blbrg data

Nat gas demand destruction in the EU has been running at 15% to 17%  since mid-2022 in the face of high nat gas prices. But demand destruction is now fading down to 8%. Demand has started to come back as nat gas prices fall. Demand is probably also coming back in Asia, but not so easily to see.

Nat gas demand destruction in the EU
Source: SEB graph and calculations, blbrg data

EU nat gas demand destruction has started to fade.

EU nat gas demand destruction has started to fade.
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg data

Forward Coal to Gas (C-t-G) differentials vs EUA market prices. The EUA price has balanced on the front-year differential. But that has now fallen like a rock along with the fall in front-year TTF nat gas price.  Lead the EUA into a free-fall

Forward Coal to Gas (C-t-G) differentials vs EUA market prices.

The front-year Coal-to-Gas differential is a distribution of crosses between many different levels of efficiencies for coal and nat gas power plants. Averages of these are EUR 52.4/ton with Coal at USD 94.3/ton and Nat gas at EUR 29.8/MWh (both front-year 2025 prices). So EUA price is still hanging high.

The front-year Coal-to-Gas differential
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg EUA market price
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Analys

Buying EUAs on the cheap will likely be one of the great opportunities of 2024

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

There are certainly bearish forces at work in the EUA market currently. Spot-wise, yes, but current forward price curve dynamics also creates a bearish pressure. Not the least from the utility side which normally is the big forward buyer of EUAs. They can now buy back previous forward hedges which where they locked in positive forward power margins. The can now instead reverse these which means that they instead of buying EUAs forward will sell EUAs forward.

That said, the MSR mechanism in the EUA market basically ensures that any surplus EUA above 833 million ton in the TNAC (Total Number of Allowances in Circulation) is wiped out within 2-3 years. The medium term EUA market fundamentals in 2026/27 and beyond is thus mostly untouched of what is going on right now. Forward 2026/27 and onward fundamentals are thus still as strong as they were previously which calls for a minimum price of EUR 100/ton or more by that time-horizon.

The question is what will be the catalyst which will turn this around to bullish price action instead of current bearish price action. A return to positive, forward clean dark and clean spark spreads is one. Economic revival in Europe as nat gas prices now have come down almost to the real average gas price level from 2010 to 2019 is another. Strong buying from shipping as they have no free allocations on their hands and will need every single EUA they buy in the years to come. But also industry will need increasingly more EUAs in the years to come and could utilize the current slump in EUA prices. Investors could also dive in at price levels seen ”too low” versus medium-term fundamental prices. Though hedge funds rarely have time to wait 2-3 years for a revival. But at some point the difference between the EUA spot price and what is considered a fair EUA price level (given politics and forward EUA fundamentals) become too big and too tempting to resist for both speculators and users of EUAs 

Every year has unique opportunities in different types of assets, equities, currencies etc. We think that one of the great opportunities in 2024 when looked upon in hindsight, will be cheap EUAs. Thus those in need for EUAs in the years ahead should bid their time and pay attention to the opportunity currently playing out in the EU carbon market.

Since 17 January the front-month EUA price has ranged between an intraday low of EUR 59.12/ton and an intraday high of EUR 64.05/ton and with an average of closes of EUR 61.4/ton. The stabilization in the EUA price seems strongly related to the price development in the front-year TTF nat gas price which has stabilized at around EUR 32/MWh during the exact same period following a sharp price decline since early October last year.

The front-year TTF nat gas contract has stabilized at around EUR 32/MWh and the average year 2025 EUA price has stabilized for now around EUR 61/ton.

The front-year TTF nat gas contract
Source: SEB graph, blbrg data

But the EUA price may have halted around the EUR 60/ton mark for other reasons as well. One is that when politicians tightened up the EUA market with backloading (2014) and MSR (2019) the EUA price rallied on its own merits and ahead of the Coal-to-Gas differentials all the way up to EUR 60/ton in 2021. In September 2021 however the C-t-G differentials (implied price of EUAs by marginal power market dynamics in an EUA market which is not too tight and not too loose) rallied ahead and above the EUA price  due to the rally in nat gas prices. This then helped to drive the EUA price yet higher. The EUA price is now however back down at the crossover price of EUR 60/ton from September 2021 at which the EUA price previously was able to reach on its own merits (political tightening).

The average EUA front-year price in EUR/ton vs. the implied front-year C-t-G differential with 41% efficient coal and 54% efficient nat gas. The difference between the efficiency of 41% to 54% is not much different than the often used 36% vs 49%.

The average EUA front-year price in EUR/ton vs. the implied front-year C-t-G differential with 41% efficient coal and 54% efficient nat gas.
Source: SEB calculations and graph, Blrg data

The EUA price also seems to follow the front-year C-t-G differentials quite closely while the discrepancies widen out further out on the curve. Thus a further sharp decline in the front-year TTF nat gas price is probably needed dynamically to drive the EUA price yet lower.

The EUA price seems to be anchored to the front-year TTF nat gas price as well as the front-year Coal-to-Gas differentials. But further out on the curve the latter widens out. Either because of increasing market tightness or simply due to curve structures. There are no support from C-t-G differentials in the current forward curves for 2026 and 2027.

The EUA price
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg data

A serious element of weakness in the EUA market currently is that current forward clean power margins are negative. I.e. there is likely very limited amount of forward hedging by utilities as it doesn’t make sense for utilities to lock-in negative forward margins. Utilities are normally a large source of forward buying of EUAs and now there is probably close to nothing. And maybe even the opposite: Utilities may reverse previously entered hedges where they locked in forward positive margins and now instead can buy them back at favorable negative levels.

On a forward basis it costs more to produce power with Coal+CO2 or Gas+CO2 than it is possible to sell the power at on a forward basis.

On a forward basis it costs more to produce power with Coal+CO2 or Gas+CO2 than it is possible to sell the power at on a forward basis.
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg data

The following graph shows a ”utility hedging incentive index” which when positive indicates positive, clean forward coal and gas power margins with a weighting of 75%, 50% and 25% on the nearest Yr1, Yr2 and Yr3. Very strong and positive forward power margins since Jan 2019. The index crossed below the EUR 5/MWh margin October last year and now sits at a massive negative EUR 7.8/MWh at which Utilities are incentivised to revers their previous hedges and buy back previously sold power and then sell coal, gas and EUAs.

The EUA price vs. SEB’s Utility forward hedging incentive index. Now very negative. Potentially feeds EUA sales into the market from the Utility side.

The EUA price vs. SEB's Utility forward hedging incentive index.
Source: SEB calculations and graph, Blbrg data

There are thus certainly bearish forces at work in the EUA market currently. Both spot-wise but also current forward price curve dynamics creates a bearish pressure. Not the least from the utility side which normally is the big forward buyer of EUAs.

That said, the MSR mechanism in the EUA market basically ensures that any surplus EUA above 833 million ton in the TNAC (Total Number of Allowances in Circulation) is wiped out within 2-3 years. The medium term EUA market fundamentals in 2026/27 are thus mostly untouched of what is going on right now. Forward 2026/27 and onward fundamentals are thus still as strong as they were previously which calls for a minimum price of EUR 100/ton or more by that time-horizon.

The question is what will be the catalyst which will turn this around to bullish price action. Positive, forward clean dark and clean spark spreads is one. Economic revival in Europe as nat gas prices now have come down almost to the real average gas price level from 2010 to 2019. Strong buying from shipping as they have no free allocations on their hands and will need every single EUA the buy in the years to come. But also industry will need increasingly more EUAs in the years to come. Investors could also dive in at price levels seen ”too low” versus medium-term fundamental prices. Though hedge funds rarely have time to wait 2-3 years for a revival. But at some point the difference between the EUA spot price and what is considered a fair EUA price level (given politics and forward EUA fundamentals) become too big and too tempting to resist for both speculators and users of EUAs

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