Europe 2012 gas demand set for tepid growth-SocGen
Monday, 19 March 2012 | 11:00
European gas demand will see tepid growth in 2012 for the first time since December 2010 when fallout from the economic downturn setback industrial consumption, but will not rebound to pre-crisis 2008 levels before 2018, analysts from Societe Generale said.
Extended recession and euro zone debt fears have led to factory closures across Europe and will continue to restrain gas and electricity consumption, the bank said.
France, Portugal, Spain, Britain, the Netherlands and Italy, which together make up 61 percent of European Union gas demand, will burn 2.5 percent more gas this year than last, according to a research note.
February gas demand rocketed 14.4 percent as bitter cold swept across the continent, but the short-lived boost offered limited overall support, with consumption since January up just 1 percent, below the 1.7 percent expected, the bank said.
"Confirming our views that gas demand should continue to be tepid in 2012," lead analyst Thierry Bros said.
"For 2012, our model shows an increase in gas demand (up 2.5 percent year-on-year), due entirely to our forecasts being weather neutral (an average 2012 vs a mild 2011)," he added.
Despite the worst February cold spell in decades, "demand seems to continue to be tepid."
Electricity consumption is 2.5 percent higher year-to-date than in 2011 thanks to the extreme cold that gripped Europe in early February, SocGen said.
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