The Bord Gais energy index was slightly lower in July than in previous months due to the recovery of the Euro, which offset the rise in the prices of commodities. The energy index ranged from 110 to 112 since April of this year, and stood at 111 in July, indicating barely any change.
A rise in the prices of three of the four components of the index – oil, natural gas and electricity – has been masked by currency movements.
The Euro experienced a restrengthening versus the US dollar, which led to the increase in the price of oil by $3. Oil prices stood at $78, having recovered from $71.50. It is possible that a steady increase in prices may lead to a breach of the $80 resistance level.
Gas prices increased sharply in the first half of the month from 43p/therm and reached 50.5p/therm at their peak. However, prices fell in the third week due to the return of LNG cargoes from Qatar. The slower recovery of the Euro against Sterling helped alleviate some of the rise in the price of natural gas.
Due to a mild summer, healthy vessel arrivals and inventories in Europe being filled for the summer, the price of coal has remained stable for July. It ped from $94.25 per tonne to $92.75.
In July, the statutory minimum price (SMP) increased by €1/MWh on average. Coal prices fell, and as the commodity is marginal day time fuel, the average day time SMP was lower for the month overall.
The strengthening of the Euro against the US Dollar following the recovery of the Euro from a low peak of €1.1923 in June to €1.3048 at the end of July was a major factor in the rise of commodity prices.
The recovery was offset by the positive reaction of the European market to the stress testing of the banks in addition to encouraging economic data from the Eurozone. Concern over European sovereign debt was replaced by concerns over the sustainability of recovery of the US economy.
The renewed strength of the US Dollar against the Euro and other currencies worldwide means that this pattern is likely to continue in the coming months, and will affect both Asian and European consumers as oil imports will become more expensive.