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Uncertainty over European energy sources and energy supplies complicates BASF’s 2023 budget planning

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who supplies natural gas to europe

Uncertainty over European energy sources and the outlook for Europe’s energy supplies is complicating BASF’s budget planning for 2023, the German chemical company’s Chief Financial Officer, Hans Ulrich Engel said.

BASF is considering at least one more scenario in addition to the traditionally developed, optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, Engel told The Wall Street Journal.

Who supplies natural gas to Europe? 

The company uses natural gas to generate electricity for its plants, and its energy costs have increased several times over as gas prices have skyrocketed. In the second quarter of 2022, they were 800 million euros higher than in the same period of the previous year, totaling 1.1 billion euros.

“Now we have days in Europe when gas prices go up and down by 50 euros per megawatt hour. We see huge fluctuations in short periods of time,” Engel notes.

The day-ahead, TTF spot gas price in the Netherlands on Oct. 7 is 119 euros per MWh, down substantially from levels at the end of August when it was 300 euros per MWh, the WSJ said.

Forecasting tools based on artificial intelligence have become more important in the current operating environment, said Engel, who is also BASF’s director of digital technology. The company has begun updating forecasts more often, as well as analyzing daily sales and orders to estimate future energy needs, he said.

BASF is also working on replacing gas with other energies and ramping up power generation with alternative sources, but so far the effect of these measures is negligible. The company expects to be able to substitute only about 7 to 8 percent of its gas consumption, Engel said. According to him, BASF is preparing for possible gas shortages but is confident that it will be able to maintain its main plant in Ludwigshafen even if Germany is forced to ration its electricity consumption.

Earlier, we reported that private investors are selling off shares at the fastest pace since 2020.

Forex

Dollar rebounds after selloff on cooling activity; euro hands back some gains

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Investing.com – The U.S. dollar rebounded in early European trading Wednesday after the prior session’s selloff, with traders keeping a wary eye on upcoming economic data for further clues of the Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy intentions.

At 04:40 ET (08:40 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.2% higher at 105.695, having fallen 0.4% overnight, dropping to its lowest level since April 12. 

Cooling business growth hits dollar 

The easing of tensions in the Middle East, with Iran indicating little desire to engage in all-out war with Israel following the latter’s strike last week, has resulted in the safe-haven dollar retreating from recent highs.

However, the greenback’s move lower on Tuesday was largely prompted by data showing a cooling of U.S. business growth, with activity dropping in April to a four-month low.

That said, comments from officials at the Federal Reserve have been mostly hawkish of late, suggesting that this individual data point is unlikely to result in rate cuts being brought forward to the summer.

“While activity indicators could prompt some FX moves, the kind of major repricing in Fed expectations that we saw in April can only be triggered by lower inflation, soft employment figures, or Fed communication,” said analysts at ING, in a note.   

The first-quarter data on Thursday and the , the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, on Friday, could prompt bigger moves.

The Fed’s first rate cut is widely expected to be in September, with November the second favorite month, and June now deemed very unlikely. 

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Euro hands back some of prior session’s gains

In Europe, fell 0.1% to 1.0689, after gaining almost 0.5% on Tuesday following data that showed in the eurozone expanded at its fastest pace in nearly a year, primarily due to a recovery in services.

Sentiment in Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, also picked up in early April, with the country’s rising to 89.4, from a revised 87.9 the prior month.

The has essentially promised a rate cut at its next policy meeting on June 6, but Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said on Wednesday that this will not necessarily be followed by further policy easing if eurozone inflation proves stubborn.

fell 0.1% to 1.2430, dropping after gains of around 0.8% in the prior session, benefiting from overnight data showing British businesses recorded their fastest growth in in nearly a year.

The is expected to lower rates by at least half a percentage point this year, but strong data could see the central bank delaying its first cut until after the summer.

USD/JPY within sight of 155

In Asia, rose 0.1% to 154.89, trading near 34-year highs and in sight of the 155 level. 

The yen weakened even as a slew of Japanese officials warned of government intervention to support the beleaguered currency. 

The meets on Friday, and is expected to keep rates unchanged after a historic hike in March. But its outlook on inflation and economic growth will be closely watched. 

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edged higher to 7.2460, remaining close to five-month highs,  while rose 0.3% to 0.6502, near a two-week high, after consumer inflation read stronger than expected for the first quarter, pushing further above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 2% to 3% annual target. 

 

 

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Strong CPI figures boost Australian dollar position, ING analysts say

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On Wednesday, the Australian dollar (AUD) experienced a rally following the release of higher-than-anticipated inflation data. The core measures of inflation remained above 4%, while the year-on-year headline rate slowed to 3.6%. The first quarter’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed a March reading of 3.5%, exceeding the consensus estimate of 3.4%.

Following the CPI announcement, Australia’s two-year swap rate rose by approximately 15 basis points, reaching its highest level since November 2023 at 4.51%. The market’s expectations for monetary policy have shifted, with the Overnight Index Swap (OIS) curve now indicating a reduced likelihood of an interest rate cut by the end of the year, leaving only 8 basis points of easing projected for the December meeting.

In a Wednesday note, ING analyst Francesco Pesole said that while the risks of another hike are not totally negligible, inflation figures were probably insufficient to warrant such a turnaround in policy.

“We think the Reserve Bank of Australia can achieve its inflation target without having to raise rates again, but may well need to digest some further bumps in inflation, which suggest further steps to the dovish side in communication will be taken with more caution,” Pesole said.

The recent economic data has been favorable for the Australian dollar, which has surged past the 0.6500 mark. While the currency remains sensitive to shifts in market sentiment, the delayed expectations of policy easing and the ability to maintain support in a stable risk environment strengthen the AUD’s position.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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Dollar recovers from PMI slump, yen closes in on 155 per dollar

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By Samuel Indyk and Kevin Buckland

LONDON (Reuters) -The U.S. dollar regained some lost ground on Wednesday following big falls against the euro and sterling the day before, while the yen remained mired near 34-year lows even as Japanese officials stepped up intervention warnings.

The – which measures the currency against six major peers including the euro, sterling and yen – was last up 0.2% at 105.85 after earlier touching the lowest since April 12 at 105.59.

It slumped 0.4% on Tuesday, driven by surprisingly robust European activity data and cooling U.S. business growth.

The euro was down 0.2% at $1.0684, following Tuesday’s 0.4% rally after data showed business activity in the euro zone expanded at its fastest pace in nearly a year, primarily due to a recovery in services.

Sterling also benefited from data showing British businesses recorded their fastest growth in activity in nearly a year, while Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill said interest rate cuts remained some way off. Sterling was last down 0.1% at $1.2437, having jumped 0.8% in the previous session.

By contrast, U.S. business activity cooled in April to a four-month low due to weaker demand, while rates of inflation eased slightly.

“We’d be cautious about jumping into a bearish narrative on the back of soft activity surveys, as hard data has generally helped the dollar of late,” said Francesco Pesole, FX strategist at ING.

Friday sees the release of the Fed’s targeted consumer inflation measure, the PCE deflator. Markets currently price in a 67% chance of a first U.S. rate cut by September, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool.

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“In the short term I think the dollar will continue to do well,” said Dane Cekov, senior macro & FX strategist at Nordea Markets.

“If U.S. inflation continues to strengthen, the dollar will remain in favour.”

The dollar index reached a 5-1/2-month peak of 106.51 last week as persistent inflation forced Fed officials to signal no rush to ease policy.

YEN CLOSES IN ON 155 PER DOLLAR

As the dollar has rebounded, it marked a new 34-year high against the yen at 154.98.

This week, the pair has oscillated in an extremely narrow range between that high and a low of 154.50, with traders wary that a push above 155 could raise the risk of dollar-selling intervention by Japanese officials. The dollar was last at 154.915 yen.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki on Tuesday issued the strongest warning to date on the chance of intervention, saying last week’s meeting with U.S. and South Korean counterparts had laid the groundwork for Tokyo to act against excessive yen moves.

Senior ruling party official Takao Ochi told Reuters that a decline in the currency towards 160 could trigger intervention.

“If the yen slides further toward 160 or 170 to the dollar, that may be deemed excessive and could prompt policymakers to consider some action,” Ochi said.

The Bank of Japan is widely expected to leave policy settings and bond purchase amounts unchanged at the conclusion of a two-day meeting on Friday, having just raised interest rates for the first time since 2007 just last month.

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And while Japan’s central bank is likely to signal a readiness to tighten policy again this year, its ultra-cautious, data-dependent approach has limited any strengthening in the yen.

“Talk is cheap and what’s really needed to stabilise the yen is essentially either the Fed cutting or higher rates in Japan,” Nordea’s Cekov said.

The climbed 0.2% to $0.6503, after pushing as high as $0.6530 for the first time since April 12, as it rallied on the back of hotter than expected consumer price data, leading markets to abandon hopes for any rate cuts from the Reserve Bank of Australia in the near term.

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