Monday, March 4

European Gas Eases as Rising Stocks Counter Ukraine Supply Risks

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(Bloomberg) — Natural gas prices in Europe fell as steadily building stockpiles eased concerns over winter shortages even as Moscow escalated its war in Ukraine.

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Benchmark futures dropped as much as 2.7% for the third day of declines. Inventories are fuller than usual at 91%, providing a buffer for the colder months even if Russia further cuts flows to the region. European nations are also urging demand reductions, which has been helped by while warm weather in the region.

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Still, prices remain more than four times higher than normal for this time of year. Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped up the war in Ukraine this week, striking civilian targets across the country, including in Kyiv. Ukraine said Monday it will stop electricity exports to Neighboring countries in the west due to the attacks on its energy facilities, making markets nervous about risks to infrastructure that transits Russian gas to Europe.

European governments are taking steps to protect their economies. Germany is preparing a series of measures to ease the burden on consumers, which could include subsidies for gas consumption for households and businesses. European Union leaders will also discuss further measures later this month.

Dutch front-month gas futures, a benchmark for Europe, declined 0.7% to 153 euros per megawatt-hour at 8:42 am in Amsterdam. They fell 12% in the previous two sessions.