There was more sideways movement in the NBP futures market on Thursday with near months flipping between losses and gains while there was a late gain in contracts from the winter out. May expired on the ICE platform yesterday and settled almost flat at 90.53p while the June contract gained nearly a penny to settle at 91.76p. The winter contract added 4.00p to close at 147.64p. The GB gas system ran short yesterday with a deficit of 6mcm at the market close. Annual maintenance works at Karsto and the Troll fields are scheduled to run into early May and have curbed imports from Norway. The spot settled a penny higher as a result of the troubled gas system while the remainder of the prompt moved slightly in the opposite direction.
The near curve of the GB baseload futures market settled mixed yesterday while the longer curve reacted to gains on corresponding contracts on the NBP curve. The front month, May, settled at £94.65/MWh a gain of £0.15/MWh while the June contract eased by £0.10/MW to £95.25/MWh. Further out the winter contract rebounded off its recent low and posted a gain of £3.00/MWh. Forecasts for wind generation to remain above the seasonal norm pressured the day ahead product yesterday. The contract ended the session £6.76/MWh below the previous day’s assessment. Carbon EUAs settled higher for the first time in over a week yesterday.
Crude oil prices were a little steadier on Thursday following the heavy losses of the previous two sessions. Economic uncertainty and the prospect of further interest rate increases continue to hang over the market and obscured a larger than expected decline in U.S. crude inventories last week. However, comments from the Russian Deputy Prime Minister seem to have arrested the slide in crude oil prices yesterday. Mr Novak sees the market as balanced and stated there would be no requirement for further production cuts from the OPEC+ group for now. The crude oil markets rallied in days following OPEC’s surprise announcement earlier in the month, but crude oil prices are now back to the price level before the announcement. At the close, the June contract for Brent settled 68 cents up at $78.37 a barrel.
Markets this morning
Crude oil prices opened lower overnight in Asian markets and in early trading in Europe. The latest trade for the June contract is a little above the morning low at $78.03 a barrel, down 34 cents from yesterday’s settlement. Closer to home, the UK gas markets have been sluggish to get going with June, the new front month for the NBP, 1.74p higher at 93.50p while the winter contract has yet to trade. There’s also very little activity on the prompt screen this morning with no deals agreed so far.