The energy market has indisputably been in the spotlight this year, especially since the start of the war in Ukraine in February which brought with it Western sanctions on Russia, Europe’s biggest energy exporter. Accordingly, the frenzy surrounding European energy sources, or lack thereof, is not only a testament to the importance of the Energy sector but also a statement on how much the energy market has shifted recently. Here’s what you need to know about this substantial sphere:
What Is Energy Trading?
Energy trading or commodity trading refers to trading commodities and energy sources like Crude Oil (CL), Brent Oil (EB), Gasoline (RB), Heating Oil (HO), coal, electricity, and wind power among others. There is quite a bit of volatility in energy commodities which makes it a big traction for traders who look for potential profits off of price swings. Needless to say that this sector is one of the most indispensable sectors as our industries and homes rely heavily on it.
Understanding Energy Market Trends: What Causes Energy Market Volatility?
The energy market usually gains attraction because energy commodities are volatile, which can attract risk-taking investors. This is because, since consumers are generally limited in their ability to substitute other fuels when the price of natural gas, for example, fluctuates, making prices of basic energy like Natural Gas and Heating Oil more volatile.
Energy commodities’ volatility was especially evident in the past few months as mentioned above, the atrocious war between Russia and Ukraine definitely had its impact on the energy market. Due to concerns surrounding Russian crude being shut out of the market ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February up until September, 130 million barrels of crude have been drained from Gulf Coast government caverns. Such apprehensions lifted the price of oil from time to time. However, on the other side of the equation, inflation, rising fears of a global recession, and interest rate hikes have led to oil prices dwindling. Evidently, as of the time of this writing, black gold lost a whopping 28% of its value since July.
In addition, the volatility experienced by energy Commodities, can sometimes, and perhaps understandably, affect energy stocks like American multinational oil and gas company, ExxonMobil (XOM). The Texas-based energy company has appreciated by 38% ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine up until the beginning of June but then dwindled by 19% as of the time of this writing, perhaps due to oil’s own depreciation.
Do Oil and Natural Gas Prices Rise and Fall Together?
It might not come as a surprise to some that the energy sector and its various component can affect one another, so a question that might come to mind is whether Oil and Natural Gas prices rise and fall in tandem. The answer to this question is not black or white. Based on historical data and price patterns, experts infer that no conclusive decision can be reached regarding the relationship between the two commodities. Nonetheless, it has been said that Oil has a higher tendency to affect Natural Gas prices rather than the other way around.
For example, take a look at the prices of Oil and Natural Gas during the same period (August 16th,2022 until September 15th, 2022).
The charts indicate a more or less similar pattern in the prices of these two commodities.
How does the price of Oil affect the economy?
Oil is a multifaceted and vital commodity used for various purposes from heating to producing electricity and moving vehicles. So it might not come as a surprise that black gold has macroeconomic effects. Accordingly, it is believed that higher Oil prices have a general correlative effect on inflation in that it indirectly affects energy-reliant products and services like heating, production, and transportation. In other words, consumer prices can be influenced by Oil’s hiked prices since many services rely on it which may cause an inflationary economy. On the flip side, higher Oil prices can also deteriorate the supply and demand of other goods because expensive oil may lead to a more costly production process. At the same time, higher Oil prices can also reduce the demand for other goods. Nonetheless, past results are no guarantee of future performance, and hence, this relationship is not a rule of thumb. (Source:EIA.goc)
How to trade energy commodities
Accessing the energy sphere can be done in a myriad of ways like trading energy ETFs or Futures Contracts. Traditional commodity trading was done through futures contracts, which are derivative agreements that predetermine the price, quantity, and quality of the goods. When a Futures contract expires, preset prices and quantities must be paid.
Alternatively, traders may access the energy market through trading Contracts for Difference (CFDs) with Plus500. Through CFDs, you can trade commodities without owning them, and instead, you can trade on upwards and downward commodity prices. In other words, with Energy CFDs, you may potentially benefit or incur losses from both rising and falling commodity markets depending on your position.
What Is the Carbon Trade?
It is no secret that energy commodities can also cause environmental pollution, especially when emitted from factories and this is where Carbon Trading comes into play. Carbon trading refers to the process of granting (through buying or selling) certain companies the right to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. The process comes in an effort to minimize global warming and climate change brought about by the use of fossil fuels. According to this process, a permit holder must have enough permits to cover his emissions, and the governmental body which grants the same is limited to a fixed number of licenses over a certain period.
Energy Technology Companies
Energy Technology companies may be a ray of hope in the midst of the incontrovertible deterioration of the global climate. An interdisciplinary engineering science, energy technology aims to extract, convert, transport, store, and use energy in an efficient, safe, environmentally friendly, and economical manner without causing adverse effects on humans, nature, or the environment. Another term for this field is “Greentech,” and some prominent companies from this sector include Alphabet (GOOG), Apple (APPL), and Microsoft (MSFT) all of which have dipped their toes into the green energy field by adhering to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors.
A lot can be said about the energy field and its ostensible effects on the environment, the economy, and industrialization. Clearly, in the past few months, various commodities from this sector have been ebbing and flowing due to various factors ranging from inflation, the war in Ukraine, recession fears, and the COVID resurgence. Nonetheless, since the market has proven to be volatile nothing is certain regarding the future of energy commodities. Traders may have to see how this sector fares in the near future.