Electricity bid-offer spreads by contract type (GB)

Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Electricity bid-offer spreads by contract type (GB).

Source: Ofgem calculations using data from ICIS .

Information correct as of: July 2019

This chart shows bid-offer spreads across a range of contracts for electricity delivered in GB for different periods of time in the future. Figures are presented as monthly averages of daily spreads.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - wholesale markets

Data Table

Electricity bid-offer spreads by contract type (GB)
Month beginningDay-aheadFront MonthFront QuarterFront SeasonSecond SeasonThird SeasonFourth Season
01/01/20060.63%0.60%0.87%0.68%0.70%1.10%0.90%
01/02/20060.71%0.64%0.91%0.86%0.57%0.91%0.60%
01/03/20061.16%0.60%1.03%1.01%0.58%1.15%0.75%
01/04/20060.70%0.60%0.97%0.56%0.91%0.71%0.97%
01/05/20060.97%0.75%0.75%0.54%0.83%0.53%0.79%
01/06/20061.29%0.59%1.00%0.57%0.76%0.59%0.81%
01/07/20060.74%0.68%0.73%0.51%0.65%0.60%0.82%
01/08/20060.86%0.46%0.72%0.52%0.62%0.61%0.87%
01/09/20061.19%0.64%0.97%0.66%0.66%0.80%0.96%
01/10/20061.66%0.55%0.71%0.86%0.77%1.03%1.00%
01/11/20061.29%0.59%0.72%0.74%0.70%0.95%0.87%
01/12/20061.44%0.88%1.19%1.22%0.99%1.37%1.10%
01/01/20071.68%1.00%2.23%1.08%0.84%1.10%1.03%
01/02/20071.99%1.17%1.85%1.16%0.83%1.20%1.33%
01/03/20072.38%1.08%1.74%1.36%0.83%1.23%1.04%
01/04/20072.75%0.86%0.95%0.78%0.99%0.99%1.48%
01/05/20072.23%0.94%1.46%0.76%0.73%1.01%1.26%
01/06/20072.35%0.74%0.92%0.66%0.73%0.94%1.15%
01/07/20072.93%0.76%1.27%0.61%0.82%0.77%1.25%
01/08/20071.82%0.83%1.14%0.62%0.67%0.76%1.08%
01/09/20071.73%0.67%0.92%0.63%0.86%0.64%0.79%
01/10/20071.37%0.74%0.76%0.74%0.78%1.02%0.83%
01/11/20070.89%0.65%0.81%0.71%0.85%1.04%1.00%
01/12/20071.15%0.63%0.94%0.83%0.74%1.30%1.24%
01/01/20080.73%0.63%1.19%0.82%0.75%1.02%0.97%
01/02/20081.12%0.58%1.21%0.84%0.68%1.16%0.90%
01/03/20080.88%0.40%0.94%0.62%0.51%1.01%0.70%
01/04/20080.83%0.38%0.74%0.62%0.74%0.70%0.91%
01/05/20080.85%0.40%0.63%0.56%0.55%0.69%0.94%
01/06/20080.74%0.41%0.68%0.49%0.57%0.68%0.90%
01/07/20080.78%0.29%0.96%0.52%0.67%0.72%0.78%
01/08/20080.82%0.40%0.77%0.60%0.76%0.68%1.09%
01/09/20080.71%0.33%0.69%0.67%0.66%0.67%0.95%
01/10/20080.95%0.62%0.87%0.69%0.74%1.17%1.11%
01/11/20080.70%0.57%1.08%0.80%0.88%1.19%1.21%
01/12/20081.34%0.83%1.22%0.96%0.89%1.30%1.12%
01/01/20091.35%0.84%2.03%1.03%0.92%1.55%1.26%
01/02/20091.92%0.93%1.96%1.05%0.86%1.49%1.26%
01/03/20091.88%0.85%1.48%1.09%0.79%1.28%1.14%
01/04/20092.13%0.80%0.99%0.57%0.75%0.73%1.17%
01/05/20091.43%0.47%1.19%0.61%0.80%0.81%1.19%
01/06/20091.52%0.61%1.11%0.62%0.88%0.74%0.92%
01/07/20092.02%0.74%0.97%0.69%0.82%1.03%1.23%
01/08/20092.30%0.65%1.21%0.69%0.61%0.72%0.70%
01/09/20091.10%0.47%1.38%0.83%0.79%0.88%0.99%
01/10/20090.70%0.47%0.55%0.72%0.55%0.82%0.73%
01/11/20090.68%0.42%0.51%0.48%0.61%0.94%0.90%
01/12/20090.72%0.89%1.19%1.09%1.01%1.38%1.24%
01/01/20100.64%0.60%1.50%0.81%0.81%1.16%1.13%
01/02/20100.61%0.49%1.19%0.67%0.69%1.05%1.07%
01/03/20100.80%0.60%1.72%1.11%0.66%1.09%1.08%
01/04/20100.73%0.79%0.93%0.80%0.98%1.13%1.42%
01/05/20100.63%0.60%0.77%0.60%0.90%0.95%1.39%
01/06/20100.67%0.63%1.15%0.75%1.09%1.13%1.39%
01/07/20100.56%0.64%1.83%0.67%0.99%1.00%1.22%
01/08/20100.55%0.67%1.58%0.69%1.02%1.10%1.38%
01/09/20100.66%0.50%1.58%0.64%0.73%0.77%1.16%
01/10/20100.56%0.57%0.83%0.55%0.64%0.85%1.00%
01/11/20100.53%0.52%0.56%0.49%0.49%0.71%0.87%
01/12/20100.49%0.53%0.98%0.70%0.65%1.13%0.91%
01/01/20110.45%1.91%1.72%0.43%0.49%0.81%0.98%
01/02/20110.48%1.40%1.66%0.46%0.44%0.78%0.75%
01/03/20110.48%0.63%1.36%0.52%0.39%0.63%0.64%
01/04/20110.39%0.42%0.52%0.50%0.49%0.62%0.76%
01/05/20110.43%0.41%0.48%0.39%0.55%0.77%0.87%
01/06/20110.39%0.43%0.67%0.44%0.68%0.63%0.71%
01/07/20110.45%0.58%0.70%0.39%0.67%0.66%0.78%
01/08/20110.65%0.46%0.77%0.43%0.57%0.69%0.97%
01/09/20110.56%0.54%0.74%0.54%0.64%0.71%0.88%
01/10/20110.48%0.46%0.63%0.64%0.69%0.87%0.96%
01/11/20110.59%0.44%0.56%0.52%0.54%0.99%0.94%
01/12/20110.49%0.55%1.00%0.68%0.75%1.23%1.16%
01/01/20120.54%0.53%1.78%0.70%0.73%0.86%0.94%
01/02/20120.44%0.60%1.75%0.64%0.55%0.83%0.98%
01/03/20120.47%0.55%1.37%0.70%0.54%0.82%0.85%
01/04/20120.48%0.70%0.90%0.62%0.68%0.77%1.11%
01/05/20120.46%0.52%0.89%0.48%0.70%0.75%1.08%
01/06/20120.49%0.58%1.04%0.46%0.69%0.85%1.18%
01/07/20120.49%0.58%1.14%0.47%0.83%0.81%0.98%
01/08/20120.55%0.52%1.13%0.42%0.79%0.85%0.97%
01/09/20120.48%0.49%0.96%0.49%0.74%0.75%0.90%
01/10/20120.48%0.47%0.77%0.42%0.62%0.89%0.89%
01/11/20120.47%0.44%0.58%0.43%0.47%0.89%0.89%
01/12/20120.51%0.42%0.84%0.52%0.67%0.83%0.98%
01/01/20130.40%0.42%0.96%0.44%0.44%0.79%0.80%
01/02/20130.49%0.44%1.06%0.63%0.57%0.76%0.79%
01/03/20130.42%0.48%1.05%0.49%0.55%0.60%0.68%
01/04/20130.39%0.48%0.71%0.41%0.57%0.57%0.77%
01/05/20130.41%0.50%0.59%0.40%0.50%0.51%0.76%
01/06/20130.45%0.44%0.55%0.38%0.53%0.46%0.70%
01/07/20130.43%0.40%0.64%0.36%0.47%0.37%0.51%
01/08/20130.42%0.44%0.53%0.37%0.47%0.36%0.47%
01/09/20130.40%0.41%0.67%0.39%0.49%0.47%0.53%
01/10/20130.42%0.33%0.45%0.33%0.30%0.45%0.43%
01/11/20130.34%0.41%0.33%0.25%0.24%0.48%0.42%
01/12/20130.37%0.39%0.57%0.38%0.42%0.44%0.56%
01/01/20140.37%0.44%0.78%0.32%0.28%0.29%0.36%
01/02/20140.40%0.54%0.94%0.59%0.53%0.46%0.41%
01/03/20140.43%0.50%1.11%0.66%0.51%0.56%0.37%
01/04/20140.48%0.34%0.46%0.37%0.33%0.32%0.44%
01/05/20140.44%0.39%0.41%0.32%0.28%0.30%0.36%
01/06/20140.22%0.40%0.56%0.28%0.31%0.27%0.41%
01/07/20140.33%0.35%0.48%0.27%0.26%0.28%0.41%
01/08/20140.33%0.31%0.40%0.25%0.21%0.30%0.31%
01/09/20140.25%0.28%0.33%0.27%0.30%0.25%0.26%
01/10/20140.25%0.24%0.33%0.22%0.25%0.37%0.24%
01/11/20140.21%0.23%0.24%0.32%0.25%0.26%0.30%
01/12/20140.25%0.33%0.27%0.26%0.26%0.33%0.35%
01/01/20150.29%0.22%0.30%0.25%0.26%0.33%0.28%
01/02/20150.26%0.29%0.35%0.24%0.32%0.36%0.39%
01/03/20150.25%0.21%0.28%0.27%0.24%0.32%0.31%
01/04/20150.24%0.21%0.24%0.24%0.24%0.26%0.33%
01/05/20150.24%0.17%0.28%0.27%0.20%0.24%0.33%
01/06/20150.28%0.23%0.23%0.24%0.21%0.28%0.34%
01/07/20150.26%0.22%0.30%0.23%0.23%0.31%0.30%
01/08/20150.24%0.19%0.29%0.25%0.20%0.28%0.32%
01/09/20150.27%0.26%0.34%0.29%0.26%0.30%0.28%
01/10/20150.27%0.19%0.33%0.25%0.26%0.30%0.35%
01/11/20150.31%0.27%0.27%0.28%0.22%0.31%0.35%
01/12/20150.27%0.27%0.26%0.29%0.32%0.36%0.35%
01/01/20160.27%0.23%0.33%0.25%0.27%0.32%0.31%
01/02/20160.32%0.24%0.34%0.34%0.28%0.32%0.33%
01/03/20160.36%0.23%0.31%0.29%0.24%0.25%0.33%
01/04/20160.29%0.23%0.31%0.25%0.28%0.33%0.39%
01/05/20160.29%0.34%0.28%0.28%0.32%0.40%0.42%
01/06/20160.27%0.30%0.33%0.30%0.32%0.34%0.41%
01/07/20160.31%0.29%0.45%0.35%0.32%0.33%0.43%
01/08/20160.29%0.27%0.35%0.27%0.28%0.34%0.35%
01/09/20160.25%0.28%0.33%0.35%0.29%0.34%0.37%
01/10/20160.23%0.35%0.31%0.31%0.33%0.31%0.30%
01/11/20160.23%0.32%0.38%0.36%0.30%0.32%0.34%
01/12/20160.27%0.38%0.41%0.30%0.35%0.34%0.30%
01/01/20170.30%0.32%0.44%0.35%0.30%0.30%0.35%
01/02/20170.38%0.28%0.35%0.28%0.28%0.26%0.32%
01/03/20170.47%0.36%0.34%0.32%0.25%0.33%0.33%
01/04/20170.47%0.25%0.32%0.35%0.31%0.33%0.38%
01/05/20170.49%0.31%0.27%0.24%0.29%0.39%0.38%
01/06/20170.51%0.30%0.29%0.28%0.34%0.32%0.38%
01/07/20170.47%0.22%0.32%0.23%0.30%0.29%0.37%
01/08/20170.50%0.23%0.33%0.22%0.25%0.44%0.38%
01/09/20170.42%0.41%0.41%0.31%0.25%0.35%0.40%
01/10/20170.25%0.16%0.18%0.15%0.16%0.21%0.25%
01/11/20170.21%0.13%0.15%0.13%0.15%0.19%0.19%
01/12/20170.22%0.14%0.17%0.14%0.16%0.21%0.24%
01/01/20180.42%0.29%0.46%0.33%0.34%0.41%0.42%
01/02/20180.44%0.30%0.39%0.35%0.31%0.43%0.46%
01/03/20180.49%0.36%0.40%0.30%0.26%0.30%0.41%
01/04/20180.55%0.33%0.37%0.30%0.32%0.35%0.41%
01/05/20180.39%0.29%0.37%0.24%0.30%0.33%0.43%
01/06/20180.45%0.31%0.44%0.34%0.38%0.42%0.45%
01/07/20180.37%0.34%0.36%0.29%0.29%0.39%0.41%
01/08/20180.36%0.34%0.35%0.25%0.29%0.32%0.37%
01/09/20180.34%0.29%0.36%0.27%0.32%0.44%0.45%
01/10/20180.31%0.29%0.36%0.33%0.32%0.42%0.46%
01/11/20180.43%0.25%0.31%0.28%0.27%0.35%0.44%
01/12/20180.38%0.33%0.37%0.26%0.34%0.49%0.45%
01/01/20190.32%0.26%0.40%0.31%0.33%0.44%0.51%
01/02/20190.40%0.33%0.28%0.35%0.34%0.33%0.40%
01/03/20190.44%0.32%0.36%0.38%0.22%0.35%0.39%

More information

Electricity bid-offer spreads: At-a-glance summary

Bid-offer spreads have consistently narrowed over the course of the last four years, indicating that the ability of firms to trade has improved over the period. This follows the Secure and Promote reforms that Ofgem put in place which place obligations on large generators to post bids and offers. Spreads are typically wider for peak products than for baseload, reflecting the higher volume of trading that occurs in baseload products.

Relevance and further information

The bid-offer spread is one indicator of market liquidity. It is the difference between the best bid to buy and the best offer to sell. It measures the premium an urgent buyer must pay if it wants to buy and the discount an urgent seller must make if it wants to sell. Tighter spreads suggest a more liquid market and robust pricing. 

Liquidity is an important feature of mature markets, often reflecting a large number of buyers and sellers. Liquid markets also facilitate new entry by making it easier to buy and sell electricity at a good price. For example, in a liquid market a new supplier can more easily enter the market and buy the power they need to cover their consumers’ demand whilst also having confidence in the price they are paying.

Methodology

The bid-offer spread is calculated by subtracting the bid price from the offer price and dividing it by the offer price. It is then multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. 

Spreads are based on over-the-counter trading and are assessed by ICIS at 4.30pm each business day.

Date correct
July 2019
Policy area