European carbon

Published at 12:13 9 Jul 2018 by . Last edited 15:12 5 Nov 2018.

The carbon market now has little in the way of future policy initiatives still to be agreed, so the market is now being driven by trading positions of proprietary market participants and some supportive fundamentals. The supportive fundamentals are coming from the sustained period of hot and dry weather in northern Europe. The most obvious impact is the fall in the Nordic hydro balance, which is now being put at 20-25 TWh below normal (and a similar level lower y/y). Projections show that the deficit against normal could drop to 25-30 TWh over the next 14 days, which is low and will cut Nordic power exports to the continental markets. The sustained hot weather will lead to a higher call on thermal generation over the rest of the summer in northern European markets and will support overall power demand. This will encourage some spot buying of EUAs. That demand will meet a sizeable volume of primary supply in July, with weekly EUA auctions at around 21 Mt per week, but August will be tighter as auctions drop to 10.5 Mt per week. For the second year in a row, we have taken a high-level look at when the global energy balance will see peak thermal fuel consumption. Our exercise uses data from the latest BP statistical review and projects primary energy demand and non-thermal energy production out to 2030 at the five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR). As with last year, the results points to peak thermal use in 2025, which means that global carbon emissions could peak around then. The more concerning issue from an environmental standpoint is that fossil fuel use erodes relatively slowly—2030 thermal energy use will only be 1.4% lower than 2017 levels. This is a simple analysis and deserves a more thorough study, but it is a useful sense check.

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