YET ANOTHER crucial global market has gone from glut to shortage at breakneck speed. Last September in Europe it cost €119 ($139) to buy enough gas to heat the average home for a year and the continent’s gas-storage facilities were brimming. Today it costs €738 and stocks are scarce. Even America, which has an abundance of shale gas, has seen prices more than double—albeit from a much lower level—and could see further increases if its winter is a cold one.

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The shortage has many causes. A cold European spring and a hot Asian summer boosted energy demand. Rebounding industrial production has lifted the global appetite for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Russia has been piping less gas into European stockpiles. Hawks suspect it of trying to spook the market and ensure its new Nord Stream 2 pipeline is…

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