German Gas Imports Down 0.8% Year Over Year, Bill Up 55.5%

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — Germany imported 0.8% less natural gas in the first eight months of 2021, but its bill rose 55.5% compared with a year earlier as prices surged, data from trade statistics office BAFA showed on Wednesday.

Gas supply is tight which has sent prices spiraling in Europe and elsewhere and there is uncertainty over the timing of arrival of Russian supplies from the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Traders of gas, power and carbon monitor gas imports because the supply and demand balance can change prices and traded volumes in those three wholesale 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 Germany's imports in the first eight months of the year were 3,458,434 Terajoules (TJ) - equivalent to 98.3 billion cubic meters (bcm) - compared with 3,487,588 TJ a year earlier.

Importers' bills over the eight months came to 17.1 billion euros ($19.7 billion), versus 11.0 billion in the same period in 2020.

The average price paid per TJ on the border in the eight-month period was up 57.2% year-on-year at 4,946.93 euros, BAFA said.

In August alone, the price per TJ was 6,580.62 euros, equivalent to 2.37 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), and up 134% year-on-year.

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

German gas stocks were at 75% of available storage capacity on Monday, European gas infrastructure group GIE's website showed, compared with 95% a year ago.

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