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Natural Gas Adds to Gains on EIA Weekly Report

May 10, 2018 at 17:01 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are extending their gains towards the end of the trading week after the US government reported a smaller-than-expected increase in domestic stockpiles. Natural gas prices are on track for a weekly gain.

June natural gas futures rose $0.063, or 2.30%, to $2.80 per British thermal units (BTU) at 16:45 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Despite a slow start to 2018, natural gas has surged nearly 3% over the last month.

On Thursday, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that domestic natural gas inventories increased 89 billion cubic feet for the week ending May 4, which is lower than the 92 billion cubic feet anticipated by the market. In total, stockpiles stand at 1.432 trillion cubic feet, down 863 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago and 520 billion below the five-year average.

In other energy markets, June gasoline futures are up $0.01, or 0.08%, to $2.1697 per gallon. June heating oil futures slid $0.015, or 0.68%, to $2.20 a gallon.

Meanwhile, oil prices are having a breather after topping four-year highs as traders are taking profits. Crude prices spiked in the aftermath of President Donald Trump‘s announcement that the US would leave the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement. June West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures tumbled $0.19, or 0.27%, to $70.94 per barrel. July Brent crude futures dipped $0.23, or 0.30%, to $76.98 a barrel.

On Wednesday, the EIA reported that domestic crude supplies decreased 2.2 million barrels, while US oil output hit a fresh high of 10.7 million barrels per day (bpd). Gasoline stockpiles declined by 2.2 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell 3.8 million barrels.

The EIA forecast that US crude production levels will reach 12 million bpd by the fourth quarter of 2019. It also projected that demand will slide to 20.64 million bpd, from 20.7 million, and higher oil prices will apply pressure to gas prices.

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