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Natural Gas Gains 1% Despite Bearish Supply News, Price Forecast

July 11, 2019 at 15:03 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures advanced as high as 1.5% on Thursday after the US government reported a larger-than-expected increase to domestic inventories of the energy supply. This comes soon after the nation’s top energy agency revised its pricing forecast by more than 5% from its previous projections. Can natural gas have a strong second half or will it continue its bearish ways in the final months of 2019?

August natural gas futures rose $0.035, or 1.5%, to $2.48 per million British thermal units (btu) at 14:46 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas is on track for a weekly gain of nearly 9%, lowering its year-to-date loss to 14%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas climbed by 81 billion cubic feet for the week ending July 5. The median estimate was 72 billion cubic feet. In total, US supplies stand at 2.471 trillion cubic feet, up 275 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are also 142 billion below the five-year average.

On Tuesday, the EIA released its latest forecast for natural gas prices. It projects that prices will average $2.62 per million btu in 2019, down 5.5% from its previous estimate.

In recent weeks, natural gas had been trading in a downward direction because temperatures were average, reducing the demand for air conditioning and adding to stockpiles. However, this month so far, there has been a heat wave that has swept the nation. In the east, triple-digit figures on the heat index were on display. In the west, there was a record-breaking and so-called dangerous heat wave that left temperatures 120 degrees Fahrenheit 49 degrees Celsius in the shade.

Put simply, millions of households across the US are cranking up the air conditioner. And that is good news for natural gas prices.

In other energy markets, September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures dipped $0.08, or 0.13%, to $60.35 per barrel. October Brent crude futures slipped $0.22, or 0.33%, to $66.79 a barrel. August gasoline futures fell $0.02, or 0.98%, to $1.98 per gallon. August heating oil futures slid $0.0125, or 0.63%, to $1.98 a gallon.

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