EU Weather Pendulum to Swing From Cold May to Balmy Summer

  • May seen colder than average in meteorologist survey
  • Hotter-than-normal summer forecast, with exception of U.K.

As Europeans prepare for more chilly weather next month after the coldest end to April since 2001, they can take some comfort from forecasts for a warmer summer.

May will be colder than average in the region, according to five of seven meteorologists surveyed by Bloomberg News, which may boost demand for natural gas in heating. That may help pare the usual seasonal decline in prices, which rose as much as 19 percent this month in northwest Europe.  

The summer, the three months through August, will be warmer than normal in eastern Europe, while the west is expected to be nearer normal, according to MDA Information Systems LLC. It won’t be as hot as last year, MDA says, when a heatwave in Poland caused the power grid operator to cut electricity supplies for industrial users for the first time since the 1980s.

“The forecast for May has shifted cooler,” said Rebecca Fuller, a meteorologist at MDA. The outlook “features slightly below normal temperatures lingering across both central and east Europe.”

Gas Prices

A colder-than-normal April lifted prices for short-term gas, with the day-ahead contract in the U.K. rising about 8 percent through Thursday, the first gain for the month since 2010. The demand also required Rough, the nation’s biggest storage site, to supply the most gas for the period since at least 2005.

Prices are likely to drop in May as the cold snap ends and storage is near seasonal norms, according to Societe Generale SA. There may be more demand next month if solar power generation is lower thanks to gloomy weather, said Nick Campbell, an energy risk manager at Inspired Energy Solutions.

“We could see Norwegian gas along with LNG supply offset the full impact of higher demand and therefore could see prices neutral to bearish to current levels,” Campbell said.

The unusual late April chill was the coldest end to the month since 2001, according to Tyler Roys, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. who expects summer to be warmer than usual in southeast Europe.

“This month drought conditions have started to crop up across southern Italy and southern Greece, which could be a huge factor this summer,” he said.

A hot summer would boost demand for cooling equipment, said Giacomo Masato, a research analyst at Marex Spectron Group Ltd. in London.

“Demand is spreading from southern Europe to central areas,” he said. “Daily peaks for summer are overtaking those for winter.”

The U.K. will miss out on the summer heat, according to The Weather Co.

“It will be warm pretty much everywhere, but there are exceptions here and the first big one is the U.K.,” said Michael Ventrice, operational scientist at The Weather Co.

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