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German 2020 gas imports down 2pc yr-yr, Dec alone up 9pc

  • Gas, power and carbon traders monitor gas imports because the supply and demand balance can change prices and traded volumes in all three markets.
  • Gas statistics correlate with coal, which competes with gas in the production of electricity, while also giving clues about demand for mandatory European carbon emissions permits.
19 Feb 2021

FRANKFURT: Germany imported 2% less natural gas last year than in 2019, owing to lower demand resulting from government restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, official data showed on Friday.

However, imports in December alone were up 9% year-on-year as consumers made purchases due to cold weather and comparably low inventories, data from trade statistics office BAFA showed.

Gas, power and carbon traders monitor gas imports because the supply and demand balance can change prices and traded volumes in all three markets.

Gas statistics correlate with coal, which competes with gas in the production of electricity, while also giving clues about demand for mandatory European carbon emissions permits.

BAFA's monthly figures showed 2020 imports were 5,344,121 Terajoules (TJ), or 152 billion cubic metres (bcm), compared with 5,451,675 a year earlier.

November imports alone totalled 466,318 TJ.

Lower demand for gas because of the pandemic and global oversupply weighed down import prices by 25.7% in the 12 months when importers' bills stood at 18.2 billion euros ($22.07 billion).

Average prices paid at the borders across the 12-month period were down 24.1% at 3,412.41 euros/TJ.

But the December border price stood at 4,252.73 euros, equivalent to 1.53 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and only 2.8% below the price in the same month a year earlier, as the impact of a price recovery in hydrocarbons was beginning to narrow the discount.

Europe's biggest economy mainly imports gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.