European gas demand received a jolt from unseasonable cold weather in April, forcing up demand in key markets. Although temperatures are now back to around normal, the power sector is still pushing up demand in the UK.
Total European demand is expected to rise by around 8% year on year in Q2. The increase in the rate of market expansion is largely the result of the cold weather that hit the region in late April. Snow fell in parts of Europe during the second half of the month and the unusually low temperatures forced a sharp increase in heating-related demand. In France, demand rose by 17% year on year, with strong increases also seen in other major markets in Northwest Europe. Although this rate of growth will not persist in May and June – as temperatures largely returned to seasonal norms in May – more modest levels of growth are still expected. April’s cold snap did not boost demand in southern European markets: Italian demand fell during the month and further declines are likely in Q2.
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