The gas market report shows that in the first quarter of 2019, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports in the EU posted a strong increase (126%) compared to the first quarter of 2018, primarily owing to the shrinking price premium of the Asian gas markets to Europe, offering competitive opportunities to LNG cargoes with European destinations, especially from the Atlantic Basin and the Middle East. Abundant LNG influx, coupled with milder than usual weather, implying less heating needs, resulted in falling prices on the European wholesale gas markets and less reliance on gas storage withdrawals during the winter period. Abundant gas supply also contributed to the increase in the liquidity of the major gas trading hubs in Europe, and the most liquid hub (TTF in the Netherlands) managed to further increase its share in the total European gas trade.
The electricity market report shows that falling gas spot prices led to intensive coal-to-gas switching across the EU power market in Q1 2019, as coal was disadvantaged by relatively high CO2 prices. Uncertainty surrounding the Brexit issue was the main factor influencing CO2 prices, which fell by 14.3% during the quarter, but were still twice as high as in March 2018. Wholesale electricity prices fell across EU markets due to mild weather conditions in February and March, lower energy commodity prices and good renewable output. The renewables sector continued to increase its share in the power mix and reached 31%, mainly thanks to strong wind generation. EU-wide consumption of electricity registered an estimated 2% year-on-year decrease as milder winter and stagnating industrial production curbed demand.