With many business energy contracts due for renewal in the Autumn window many will be shocked at how COVID-19 has reduced the options available to them when it comes to choosing both suppliers and contract terms. Although wholesale prices have fallen in the last 4 months suppliers have been looking to protect themselves from debt and risk sectors which is leaving many businesses wondering where to look for their next contract.
April 2020 was one of the most volatile trading sessions in living memory with wholesale energy commodities recording both record up and downswings, even resulting in a negative WTI index. As we finish the month markets have started to stabilise with slight gains seen in day ahead prices and some overall gains in Winter 20/Summer 21 electricity markets.
As of the 4th May 2020 Micro-businesses and SME’s will be able to apply for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme which can offer up to £50,000 within 24 hours. The criteria set is almost self-certifying with little checks being carried out by the banks and all loans are interest free for the first 12 months with the balance likely to be charged at a rate of 3% which is around half the rate set in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
In the main, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will work as follows:
Gas and Electricity suppliers are continuing to revise their business models to protect themselves from the impact of COVID-19. We are expecting changes almost on a weekly basis in the medium term.
The first few weeks in April saw several records broken, firstly it was confirmed that Brent prices recorded their worst quarter downswing in living memory, however following confirmation of OPEC+ talks Brent prices saw the biggest intraday rally in history, albeit short lived. During the OPEC+ meeting it was agreed that cuts of 10m barrels per day would be implemented which is around 10% of global demand, this agreed cut way below what most analysts believe is required to counterbalance the social/economic reductions seen in Oil requirements from COVID-19 which are currently estimated to be around 30%. Brent started the month at $26 to currently sit on $21, however WTI which is the US index saw major falls from $23 to negative $4 as of 20th April 2020.