The contrast in moods between US and European companies was reflected in their view of the outlook for pure trading activities, PwC added. Two-fifths of European utilities said they wanted to provide risk management services to other companies - which could be a fruitful opportunity for larger trading teams, PWC said. By contrast, 26% of US respondents said they were "severely curtailing or abandoning" energy trading. Also, 24% of European energy companies said they were trading purely speculatively - up from 5% a year ago - compared with 12% of their US rivals.
In total, 87% of European respondents saw trading as intrinsic to hedging retail and generation price risk, compared with 66% a year ago. Meanwhile, the proportion of companies with separate hedging and speculative trading activities almost doubled in a year to 47%, while 34% combined hedging and speculative trading – up from 26% a year ago.