- Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis, with Russia squeezing natural gas supplies as tensions run high over Ukraine.
- Natural gas and electricity prices are trading more than 1,000% higher than the levels seen in the 2010 to 2020 decade.
- Fears that the energy crisis will trigger a deep recession have pushed the euro to its lowest level in 20 years.
Europe is in the middle of a severe energy crisis, as the prices of natural gas and electricity soar to what one analyst has called "absurd" levels.
The price of natural gas — a fossil fuel vital to the European Union's economy — has spiraled higher in recent weeks, with Russia squeezing flows to Europe as tensions run high over Ukraine.
The surge in natural gas has driven electricity prices to record highs, piling the pressure on consumers and businesses across the EU. German baseload power, the benchmark European electricity price, is trading more than 1,400% above its average in the 2010s.
Here are three charts that underline the scale of Europe's energy crisis.
At the heart of Europe's energy woes is a natural gas price that will not stop rising. Its run-up this year has been driven by Russia's move to slash the flow of natural gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to just 20% of capacity.
Prices spiked as high as 290 euros ($288) per megawatt hour on Monday and closed at a record after Russia said it would halt flows for three days at the end of August to carry out repairs on Nord Stream 1.
Dutch TTF natural gas futures, the benchmark European price, fell slightly to trade at around 272 euros on Tuesday — but that was still more than 1,200% above the average price seen in the 2010s.
Natural gas is central to the European economy, given the EU got more than 20% of its energy from the fossil fuel before the Ukraine war. It's used to heat homes, generate electricity and in various industrial processes.
As natural gas prices have soared, so has the cost of electricity, which is often generated by burning the fuel.
The German baseload year-ahead power, Europe's benchmark electricity price, catapulted above 700 euros per megawatt hour on Monday for the first time. It traded at around 640 euros Tuesday — more than 1,400% above the average price seen in the 2010 to 2020 period.
"As we kick off another week, we now have another shutdown of Russian gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline," said John Hardy, head of FX strategy at Saxo Bank.
"This has spiked forward natural gas and power prices to even more absurd levels than the already dire levels of late."
Analysts now expect the eurozone economy to tip into a recession in the coming months, as energy prices cause consumers and businesses to cut back sharply on their spending and normal activities.
The euro has cratered to its lowest level in 20 years against the dollar, in a sign of the economic woes facing the continent.
It has dropped around 12% this year to below $1, from $1.14 at the start of January. As of Tuesday, the euro traded at around $0.993, its lowest level since the fall of 2002.
"We expect the sharpest contractions in Germany and Italy – i.e. countries with large manufacturing sectors that are highly reliant on Russian gas," said Credit Suisse economist Veronika Roharova in a recent note.
See the latest EUR-USD movements here.