The price of the different energy sources is set to stagnate over the coming six months. This is the result of the latest ZEW Energy Market Barometer, a survey carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) among energy market experts. The majority of the surveyed experts expect wholesale prices for electricity (71 per cent), crude oil (77 per cent), natural gas (81 per cent) and coal (79 per cent) to remain stable. The experts’ expectations are, however, quite different when it comes to the price development in the medium term. Around 75 per cent of the respondents anticipate increases in wholesale electricity prices in the upcoming five years. The survey shows similar expectations for global crude oil prices (67 per cent) and natural gas prices in Germany (63 per cent).

Trend towards stable prices for almost all energy sources in the short term.
Trend towards stable prices for almost all energy sources in the short term.

A very different picture is painted in terms of coal prices. While 31 per cent of those surveyed anticipate price decreases, 25 per cent expect medium-term prices to increase. The percentage of those who anticipate lower prices has thus increased by three per cent compared to the previous survey. However, the relative majority of the energy experts predicts that the coal price will stagnate in the medium term.

In comparison to the survey results of November 2016, the expectations regarding the medium-term prices of electricity, natural gas and crude oil have remained largely unchanged. Back in 2016, a vast majority of the respondents expected prices to stagnate in the medium term. For electricity and crude oil, however, around 30 per cent of the surveyed experts anticipated price increases. In the current survey, the number of those who anticipate increases in the price of electricity (18 per cent) and crude oil (17 per cent) has decreased considerably. A similar trend can be seen in the short-term development of natural gas and coal prices. In comparison with last year’s survey, however, these numbers have only decreased moderately, falling from 19 to ten per cent for natural gas and from 17 to seven per cent for coal.

With regard to the CO2 emission allowances in Europe, around 70 per cent of the survey participants believe that prices will vary between five and ten euros per tonne of CO2 in the next six months. Since one tonne of CO2 currently totals approximately five euros, the majority of those surveyed expect to see a stagnation or a slight increase in prices in the near future. 18 per cent of the energy market experts even consider it likely that prices could fall below five euros. This corresponds to an increase of six percentage points compared to the level recorded in the previous survey. Around 30 per cent of the energy experts expect medium-term prices to vary between ten and 15 euros per tonne of CO2.

About the ZEW Energy Market Barometer

The ZEW Energy Market Barometer is the only panel of its kind in Germany made up of experts in the energy industry. The survey has been conducted every six months since 2002 and reflects the participants' assessments regarding current issues in the energy industry and in energy policy. The current survey (May 2017) is based on 151 responses from German participants.

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