US retreat hits European trading

The retreat of US energy firms from energy trading has reportedly hit European volumes hard. But volumes aside, James Ockenden finds that the withdrawal may bring a fundamental change in the market. With additional reporting by Eurof Thomas

German trading volumes in electricity for 2002 dropped by around 41% on 2001 figures. While the exchanges – particularly the European Energy Exchange (EEX) – performed well, 90% of German power trades are done over-the-counter, and the loss of the US market-makers such as Dynegy and Enron was blamed for the reduced liquidity.

Until the departure of Enron in December 2001, the German market had been growing fast – some 10 times the 530 terawatt hours of actual power consumption was

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