The latest increase in cases of coronavirus infections since the beginning of autumn has not yet led to a visible impact on energy consumption and the general economy, as far as available data suggests. Consumption of electricity and gas had returned to normal over the summer and early autumn, and commodity prices had recovered at least partly from their collapse in the second quarter.
GDP growth forecasts by the leading economic research institutes had most recently been revised upwards and converged to a level of -5% to -6%; i.e., the forecasts for the entire year of 2020 are still heavily negative. Moreover, any effects from the new pandemic-related restrictions of public life (which came into effect on November 2nd) are not yet reflected in these forecasts.
The business climate in key branches of the industry had returned to the regular range (again, before the new measures came into effect). However, the production indices published by the German Statistical Office, which currently are available up to September for the different branches, are still by a few percentage points below pre-pandemic levels.
For the time period of March to October, there is a significant negative correlation between wholesale electricity prices (German month-ahead price) and coronavirus cases in Germany. The coefficient of determination is approx. 50%, the slope -2 EUR/MWh per 1,000 cases/day.
For electricity consumption, we expect a decrease over the next few months which in all likelihood will not be as steep as the decrease in the second quarter, since the new pandemic-related measures are (up to now) less drastic than those taken in the spring.
Gas consumption has been rather inconspicuous since the start of the pandemic, due to opposed developments within the group of large customers (decrease in industry consumption, increase in power plant consumption).
This can be seen from consumption data for different customer groups (which are now temperature-adjusted for the SLP segment, i.e. heating customers). Predictability is therefore rather low, which is why we don’t show gas consumption scenarios in this edition.
Source: Jens Voller, Team Consult